To predict forest fires, researchers have studied their history over the past 35 years.

Scientists have reconstructed the history of forest fires in Central Siberia over the past 35 years and studied the rate of recovery of burned areas. Depending on the climatic conditions and the type of fire, it takes at least 25 years for the forest to partially return to its former state, according to the Krasnoyarsk Science Center of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

A team of scientists from several universities and scientific organizations in Moscow and the Federal Research Center “Krasnoyarsk Scientific Center of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences” reconstructed the history of forest fires from 1985 to 2020 and calculated the time Rehabilitation of forests in northern Siberia after the fire. To study the long-term dynamics of fires in northern Central Siberia, scientists have selected four key areas: Igarsky, Turukhansky, Vanavara and Turinsky. These areas belong to the subarctic climate zone and are located in the area affected by permanent frost. Scientists have discovered that from 1985 to 2020, more than four thousand square kilometers were affected by forest fires in these areas. The maximum fire activity was observed in 1990, 2006, 2013 and 2016 and was associated with very hot and dry weather conditions in the area.

The selected areas differ in landscape, climate and degree of anthropogenic impact; therefore, natural fires occurred there in places of different conditions and at different times. The smallest areas of forest fires were observed in two northwest areas: Igarsky and Turukhansky. This is due to low temperatures, high swamps, low frequency of dry storms and poor availability of wood and bedding as fuel for fires. Most of the time, forests were burned in the southern part of Vanavar, where about 58% of the territory was burned. This is due to the frequent recurrence of fires due to the large number of storms in the summer.

The scientists also studied the duration of post-fire vegetation restoration in the burned areas. The researchers note that different fire intensities and climatic conditions can lead to different vegetation recovery conditions even within the same study area. Therefore, experts focused on the overall picture of recovery after the fire. On average, it takes 20 to 25 years for vegetation to partially recover after a fire. In areas with recurring forest fires, recovery takes longer.

“Forest damage from fires in Russia accounts for 65% of all forest losses caused by natural and man-made factors. Recent studies have shown that the total number of forest fires in Siberia has increased by about six to eight times from 1996 to 2015. This is mainly due to the increase in the frequency of extreme heat with long periods without rainfall, which often leads to summer droughts. Forest fires can be a major factor in defrosting permanent frost, which can increase the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and accelerate global warming. Combining current data on forest fire dynamics with information on fire activity in previous eras is crucial to better understanding the impact of both long-term and short-term climate variability and human activities on the frequency and intensity of regional fires. forest fires. “Reconstructing the history of forest fires, which we have carried out, will be useful for analyzing and predicting the frequency and intensity of forest fires in Central Siberia in the context of climate change,” said Mikhail Korets, Senior Forest Researcher. Institute. VN Sukacheva FRC KSC SB RAS.

The results of the study are published in the journal Remote Sensing.

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