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Fire in Siberian boreal forests -- implications for global climate and air quality

Informally Refereed
Authors: Eduard P. Davidenko
Year: 1998
Type: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
Source: In: Bytnerowicz, Andrzej; Arbaugh, Michael J.; Schilling, Susan L., tech. coords. Proceedings of the international symposium on air pollution and climate change effects on forest ecosystems. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-166. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 87-94

Abstract

Boreal forests and woodlands comprise about 29 percent of the world's forest cover. About 70 percent of this forest is in Eurasia, mostly in the Russian Federation. Boreal forests contain about 45 percent of the world's growing stock and are an increasingly important part of global timber production. Fire impacts large areas of boreal forest annually in Russia, and in excess of 60 percent of these fires are believed to be caused by human activity. Because of the large extent of boreal forest, the large amount of fire activity, and the expected sensitivity of carbon cycling in these systems to fire and climate patterns, there is justifiable concern about the potential effects of boreal fire regimes on atmospheric chemistry, global carbon cycling, and global climate, as well as potential feedback effects of global climate change on fire regimes and carbon cycles in these systems. Accurate estimates of these impacts are hampered by a lack of good data on the area burned and on fire severity. We estimate that the average area burned annually in Russian boreal forests is around 7.3 million ha, an order of magnitude greater than indicated by official fire statistics. This discrepancy has major implications for estimates of emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. In severe fire seasons, there are also frequent long-term episodes of air pollution caused by wildfire smoke. Because of the interactions between fire, landscape patterns, air quality, and climate in boreal forests, fire regimes and fire management in Siberia have potentially large impacts on regional air quality and on the global environment.

Parent Publication

Citation

Conard, Susan G.; Davidenko, Eduard P. 1998. Fire in Siberian boreal forests -- implications for global climate and air quality. In: Bytnerowicz, Andrzej; Arbaugh, Michael J.; Schilling, Susan L., tech. coords. Proceedings of the international symposium on air pollution and climate change effects on forest ecosystems. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-166. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 87-94
https://www.fs.usda.gov/research/treesearch/26956