Forest age distribution and traces of past fires in a natural boreal landscape dominated by Picea abies

Tuomo Wallenius
2002 Silva Fennica  
Wallenius, T. 2002. Forest age distribution and traces of past fi res in a natural boreal landscape dominated by Picea abies. Silva Fennica 36(1): 201-211. Forest age distribution and occurrence of traces of past fi res was studied in a natural Picea abies -dominated landscape in the Onega peninsula in north-west Russia. Forest age (maximum tree age) was determined and charcoal and fi re scars were searched for in 43 randomly located study plots. In 70% of the study plots (30/43) trees older
more » ... /43) trees older than 200 years existed. The largest 50-year age class consisted of plots with 251-300 year old forests. Traces of fi res were found in all types of study plots, in forests on mineral soil as well as on peatlands. However, fi re has been a rare disturbance factor, as traces of fi res could not be found in 35% of the study plots (15/43). Estimated from the forest age class distribution, the fi re rotation time for the whole area has been at least 300 years, but possibly considerably longer. This fi re rotation time is much longer than fi re history studies (largely based on examination of fi re scars) commonly have reported for the average time between successive fi res in Fennoscandia and Northwest Russia. The results suggest that the often stated generalisations about the importance and natural frequency of fi re disturbance in boreal forests do not apply in landscapes dominated by Picea abies.
doi:10.14214/sf.558 fatcat:ffyakyp62rbgroyj26jlteouly