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Research article2004Peer reviewed

Linking tree rings, summer aridity, and regional fire data: an example from the boreal forests of the Komi Republic, East European Russia

Drobyshev I, Niklasson M


To evaluate the potential use of tree-ring data as a proxy for fire activity at the scale of a large boreal region, we analyzed a set of regional tree-ring chronologies of Siberian larch (Larix sibirica L.), a spatially implicit annual fire record, and monthly climate data for the Komi Republic for the period 1950-1990. In most years, annually burned area was below 0.001% of the republic's forested area and reached up to 0.7% during fire-prone years. Principal components (PC) of summer aridity resolved 64.2% of the annual variation in the number of fires, 12.2% in the average fire size, and 59.2% in the annually burned area. In turn, tree-ring PCs explained 65.2% of variation in fire-related weather PCs. Dendrochronological reconstruction of the annual number of fires and of the log-transformed annually burned area predicted 27.0% and 40.1% of the high-frequency variance of these variables, respectively. Coefficient of efficiency, a measure of reconstruction usefulness, reached 0.081 (number of fires) and 0.315 (annual area burned), supporting the obtained index as a realistic proxy for regional fire activity. Decadal variation in coefficient of efficiency values suggested improved monitoring accuracy since 1960 and more effective fire suppression during the last studied decade (1980-1990)

Published in

Canadian Journal of Forest Research
2004, Volume: 34, number: 11, pages: 2327-2339