Holocene-scale fire dynamics of central European temperate sprucebeech forests

Carter, V A and Moravcova, A and Chiverrell, R C and Clear, J L and Finsinger, W and Dreslerova, D and Halsall, K and Kunes, P (2018) Holocene-scale fire dynamics of central European temperate sprucebeech forests. Quaternary Science Reviews, 191. pp. 15-30. ISSN 0277-3791

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This study investigated the long-term role and drivers of fire in the central European temperate sprucebeech
forests from Prášilské Jezero, Czech Republic. The results illustrate the complex relationship between
broad-scale climate, vegetation composition, and local human activities on fire throughout the
Holocene. Biomass burning was the highest (average 3 fires/1000 years) and most severe during the early
Holocene when fire resistant taxa (Pinus, Corylus and Betula) dominated. Using a Generalized Additive
Model to assess the response of dominant canopy taxa to changes in biomass burning and fire severity,
response curves demonstrate a positive relationship (p < 0.01) between fire resistant taxa and increases
in biomass burning. Norway spruce (Picea abies) established ~10,000 cal yr BP and expanded during peak
biomass burning. Response curves show a slight negative relationship with Picea and increasing biomass
burning, and a positive relationship with increasing fire severity. This suggests that central European
spruce forests may not be significantly impacted by fire. Regional biomass burning dramatically
decreased with the expansion of fire sensitive taxa (e.g. Fagus sylvatica) ~6500 cal yr BP, yet no dramatic
reduction in local fire frequency occurred. This suggests either human activities or rare fire-promoting
climatic events were important in shaping local fire regimes. Fire activity peaked (6 fires/1000 years)
~2500 cal yr BP and paralleled increases in anthropogenic pollen indicators. Fagus response curves illustrates
a negative (p < 0.01) relationship with increasing biomass burning and fire severity suggesting
that natural Fagus forests may be increasingly vulnerable to projected increases in wildfire occurrence.

Item Type: Article
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Geography and Environmental Science
Depositing User: Jennifer Clear
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2018 13:18
Last Modified: 26 May 2020 00:15
URI: https://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/2587

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