Recovery of carbon stocks after wildfires in boreal forests: a synthesis

Theme 1. Environmental protection
Session Name 1.10 Biogeochemical cycles in Arctic forests
Datetime Sep 07, 2018 01:45 PM - 02:00 PM (UTC +3)
Presentation Type Oral
Author(s) Marjo Palviainen (University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Sciences, Finland), Frank Berninger (University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Sciences, Finland), Kajar Köster (University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Sciences, Finland), Jukka Pumpanen (University of Eastern Finland, Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Finland)
Abstract text

Climate warming has been predicted to increase the frequency and severity of wildfires in high-latitude boreal forests. Fires decrease forest carbon (C) stocks, increase CO2 emissions to the atmosphere and may cause long-term changes in forest C dynamics by altering forest regrowth, successional trajectories, litter production, organic matter decomposition, permafrost melting and the fluxes of energy, water and nutrients. Quantifying the magnitude of post-fire C changes and the rate of recovery of C stocks is necessary for understanding how changing fire frequency and intensity influence regional and global C budgets over both short and long temporal scales and for predicting future changes in C budgets. We compiled data from fire chronosequence studies from different parts of boreal zone to examine how fires change the distribution of C among different ecosystem components, how quickly forest C pools recover after fire and how the recovery of C stocks vary across boreal zone. Our objective was also to determine to what extent climatic conditions, soil properties, tree species, time since fire and fire severity explain the variation in C accumulation rate. We present a synthesis of key ecosystem parameters determining C accumulation rate in boreal forests after fire and discuss the potential implications of increased fire frequency on the recovery of C stocks and C budgets in boreal region.

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