Role of forest fires in Holocene stand-scale dynamics in the unmanaged taiga forest of northwestern Russia

Kuosmanen, N and Fang, K and Bradshaw, R H W and Clear, J L and Seppa, H (2014) Role of forest fires in Holocene stand-scale dynamics in the unmanaged taiga forest of northwestern Russia. The Holocene, 24 (11). pp. 1503-1514. ISSN 0959-6836

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Fossil pollen, conifer stomata, and charcoal records for the last 10,000 years were studied from three small hollow sites (Larix Hollow, Mosquito Hollow,
and Olga Hollow) located at the modern western range limit of Siberian larch (Larix sibirica) in northwestern Russia to investigate the role of forest fires
in stand-scale dynamics of taiga vegetation. Wavelet coherence analysis was utilized to reveal the significance of fire on the vegetation composition at
different timescales by assessing the phase and strength of the relationship between forest fires and most common boreal tree taxa in a time–frequency
window. Pollen and stomata data show that all of the modern-day common tree taxa, including Norway spruce (Picea abies) and Siberian larch, have been
present in the study region since the early Holocene. The absence of charcoal layers at Mosquito Hollow suggests that this site has acted as a fire-free
refugium with continuous dominance of spruce throughout the Holocene. Meanwhile, the Larix Hollow record indicates frequent local fire events and as
a consequence, a more variable tree species composition. The wavelet coherence results show that the impact of forest fires on vegetation varies from
short-term (<200-year periods) changes in individual tree taxa to long-term (400–800 years) changes in forest composition, such as the expansion of
spruce population after local high-intensity fires around 7500–7000 cal. yr BP and the increase in abundance of birch and alder during periods of high fire
frequency. Our results suggest that Holocene fire histories can be markedly different within a small geographical area, demonstrating the importance of
site-specific factors in the local fire regime in the unmanaged taiga forest.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: Published version available at
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Geography and Environmental Science
Depositing User: Jennifer Clear
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2017 13:16
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2017 13:16

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