Current issue: 54(2)
Under compilation: 54(3)
Fire as disturbance of forests has an important ecological and economical role in boreal and hemiboreal forests. The occurrence of forest fires is both climatically and anthropogenically determined and shifts in fire regimes are expected due to climate change. Although fire histories have been well documented in boreal regions, there is still insufficient information about fire occurrence in the Baltic States. In this study, spatio-temporal patterns and climatic drivers of forest fires were assessed by means of spatial and time-series analysis. The efficiency of Canadian Fire Weather (FWI) indices as indicators for fire activity was tested. The study was based on data from the literature, archives, and the Latvian State Forest service database. During the period 1922–2014, the occurrence and area affected by forest fires has decreased although the total area of forest land has nearly doubled, suggesting improvement of the fire suppression system as well as changes in socioeconomic situation. The geographical distribution of forest fires revealed two pronounced clusters near the largest cities of Riga and Daugavpils, suggesting dominance of human causes of ignitions. The occurrence of fires was mainly influenced by drought. FWI appeared to be efficient in predicting the fire occurrence: 23–34% of fires occurred on days with a high or extremely high fire danger class, which overall had a relative occurrence of only 4.3–4.6%. During the 20th century, the peak of fire activity shifted from May to April, probably due to global warming and socioeconomic reasons. The results of this study are relevant for forest hazard mitigation and development of fire activity prediction system in Latvia.
The paper is a review on utilization of peatlands in forestry in the countries of boreal zone: Finland, Norway, Sweden, Canada, the United States and the Soviet Union. First, the concept of peatlands, the types of peatlands throughout the zone are defined, and the use of natural peatlands is described. Finally, the drainage of peatlands for forestry purposes in the countries is reviewed. According to the statistics, a total of 13 million ha of peatlands have been drained in Fennoscandia and the Soviet Union.
This study deals with the succession of vegetation and tree stand in 16 mesic Myrtillus site type Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) plantations after prescribed burning in Evo, Southern Finland. The oldest tree stands studied were about 30-year-old. The growth of trees followed the height index of Myrtillus type. The vegetation was first mesic, dominated by grasses and herbs, turning more xeric after four years. This change was accelerated by treatment with herbicides. After the closure of tree stand, vegetation became more characteristic of forest vegetation, but pioneer species and composition disappeared slowly. The basic characters of vegetation succession could be clearly described by DCA ordination and TWINSPAN classification. The study confirmed that Myrtillus type has succession phases which are typical for each age phases as Cajander’s forest site type theory has proposed. However, differences in primary and secondary site factors have their own effects on the vegetation of the succession phases.
The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.