The role of climate-fuel feedbacks on Holocene biomass burning in upper-montane Carpathian forests

Carter, Vachel A. and Bobek, Premysl and Morocova, Alice and Solcova, Anna and Chiverrell, Richard C. and Clear, Jennifer L. and Finsinger, Walter and Feurdean, Angelica and Tantau, Ioan and Magyari, Eniko and Brussel, Thomas and Kunes, Petr (2020) The role of climate-fuel feedbacks on Holocene biomass burning in upper-montane Carpathian forests. Global and Planetary Change, 193. ISSN 0921-8181

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Over the past few decades, mean summer temperatures within the Carpathian Mountains have increased by as much as 2 °C leading to a projected increased forest fire risk. Currently, there are no paleofire records from the Western Carpathians that provide the long-term range of natural variability to contextualise the response of upper-montane forests to future environmental change and disturbance regimes. We present the first high-resolution Holocene fire history record from the upper-montane ecotone from the High Tatra Mountains, Slovakia, as well as provide a regional synthesis of pan-Carpathian drivers of biomass burning in upper-montane forests. Our results illustrate that forest composition and density both greatly influence biomass burning, creating two different climate-fuel feedbacks. First, warmer conditions in the early Holocene, coupled with generally higher abundances of Pinus sp., either P. cembra and/or P. mugo/sylvestris, created a positive climate-fuel relationship that resulted in higher amounts of biomass burning. Second, cooler and wetter late Holocene conditions led to denser Picea abies upper-montane forests, creating a negative climate-fuel feedback that reduced biomass burning in upper-montane forests across the Carpathians. Given that warmer and drier conditions are expected across the entire Carpathian region in the future, our results illustrate how future climate change could potentially create a positive climate-fuel relationship within upper-montane forests dominated by Picea abies and Pinus cembra and/or P. mugo/sylvestris.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is the authors' version of an article that was accepted for publication in Global and Planetary Change. The final, published version is available from:
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Geography and Environmental Science
Depositing User: Matthew Adams
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2021 12:17
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2021 12:17

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