Current issue: 55(5)
Under compilation: 56(1)
The study is the first report of a larger project concerning fire ecology in the Finnish boreal forests. Modern forestry has never been practiced in the Ulvinsalo strict nature reserve (2,500 ha) in Northern Finland in the county of Kuhmo. Forest fires have been uncommon because of mosaic of mineral and peat soils. The forests are mostly Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) dominated with Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) often as the oldest trees of a stand. Forest fires were dated by counting annual rings from cambium to the fire scar in pines. 73 stands covering 1,207 ha were surveyed, over 80% of which was on mineral soil.
50% of the area had burned at least once during the life time of the present pine trees. 48 different forest fires were found, the first being from the year 1712 and the latest from 1969. The average time elapsed between the fires was about 82±43 years, and range 18–219 years. It was assumed that the stands where no fire scars were found, had, however, regenerated after fires but no fires have occurred since after that. In latter part of the 19th century 21 forest fires were dated, in the other half centuries only 4–9. This may have been caused by the increased human activity in the late 1800’s. The fire rotation of the area is 280 years, and spruce is almost the only tree species, which can regenerate in the present situation.
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