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Silva Fennica 1926-1997
Acta Forestalia Fennica

Articles containing the keyword 'forest fires'

Category : Article

article id 5567, category Article
Pekka Punttila, Yrjö Haila. (1996). Colonisation of a burned forest by ants in the southern Finnish boreal forest. Silva Fennica vol. 30 no. 4 article id 5567.
Keywords: boreal forests; forest fires; succession; competition; Formica rufa; Formica ruginodis; ant communities; clear-cut areas
Abstract | View details | Full text in PDF | Author Info

The colonisation of a burned clear-cut by ants in southern Finland was monitored using pitfall traps, artificial nest sites, and direct nest sampling from the ground and stumps. Clearcutting and fire seemed to have destroyed wood-ant colonies (Formica rufa group), and also other mature-forest species suffered from fire. Myrmica ruginodis Nylander was able to survive only in less severely burned moist sites, whereas it benefitted from the enhanced light conditions in a non-burned clear-cut. The fire resulted in an essentially ant-free terrain into which pioneering species immigrated. The mortality of nest-founding queens appeared to be high. The results supported the hypothesis that the pioneering species tend to be those that are capable of independent colony founding, followed by species founding nests through temporary nest parasitism. The succession of the burned clear-cut differed from that of the non-burned one, suggesting that habitat selection in immigration and priority effects, i.e. competition, introduce deterministic components in the successional pathways of boreal ant communities.

  • Punttila, E-mail: pp@mm.unknown (email)
  • Haila, E-mail: yh@mm.unknown
article id 5566, category Article
Reijo Penttilä, Heikki Kotiranta. (1996). Short-term effects of prescribed burning on wood-rotting fungi. Silva Fennica vol. 30 no. 4 article id 5566.
Keywords: boreal forests; forest fires; Picea abies; polypores; controlled burning; wood decay; wood-rotting fungi; corticoid fungi; fungal community structure
Abstract | View details | Full text in PDF | Author Info

The prefire fungal flora (polypores and corticoid fungi) of 284 dead trees, mainly fallen trunks of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.), was studied in 1991 in an old, spruce-dominated mesic forest in Southern Finland. Species diversity of the prefire fungal flora was very high, including a high proportion of locally rare species and four threatened polypore species in Finland.

In 1992 part of the study area (7.3 ha) was clear-cut and a 1.7 ha forest stand in the centre of study area was left standing with a tree volume of 150 m3/ha, and later on (June 1st) in the same year the whole area was burned. Burning was very efficient and all trees in the forest stand were dead one year after the fire. Also, the ground layer burned almost completely.

In 1993 the fungal flora of the 284 sample trees was studied again. Most of the trees had burned strongly and the fungal species diversity and the evenness in community structure had decreased considerably as compared with the prefire community. Species turnover was also great, especially in corticoid fungi. Greatest losses in the species numbers occurred in moderately and strongly decayed trees, in coniferous trees and in very strongly burned trees. Fungal flora of non-decayed and slightly decayed trees, deciduous trees and slightly burned trees seemed to have survived the fire quite well, and in these groups the species numbers had increased slightly as compared with the prefire community.

Fungal species suffering from fire (anthracophobe species) were mainly growing in moderately and strongly decayed trees before the fire, whereas species favoured by fire (anthracophile species) were growing in less decayed trees. No fruitbodies of threatened polypores or other "old-forest species" of polypores were found again after fire. Some very common and effective wood-rotting fungi (e.g. Fomitopsis pinicola, Fomes fomentarius, Antrodia serialis) survived the fire quite well (anthracoxene species). Species favoured by fire were mainly ruderal species which can utilize new, competition-free resources created by fire, and species that have their optima in dry and open places also outside forest-fire areas. Some rarities, e.g. Phanerochaete raduloides and Physisporinus rivulosus, were favoured by fire.

  • Penttilä, E-mail: rp@mm.unknown (email)
  • Kotiranta, E-mail: hk@mm.unknown
article id 5601, category Article
Jari Parviainen. (1996). Impact of fire on Finnish forest in the past and today. Silva Fennica vol. 30 no. 2–3 article id 5601.
Keywords: forest fires; biodiversity; Finland; prescribed burning; forest ecology; wildfires; slash and burn cultivation
Abstract | View details | Full text in PDF | Author Info

Nearly every forest land in Finland has been burnt down by a wildfire at least once during the past 400–500 years. Slash and burn cultivation (1700–1920) was practised on 50–75 percent of Finland's forests, while prescribed burning (1920–1990) has been applied to 2–3 percent of the country's forests. Because of land-use changes and efficient fire prevention and control systems, the occurrence of wildfires in Finland has decreased considerably during the past few decades. Owing to the biodiversity and ecologically favourable influence of fire, the current tendency is to revive the use of controlled fire in forestry in Finland. Prescribed burning is used in forest regeneration and endeavours are being made to revert old conservation forests to the starting point of succession through forest fires.

  • Parviainen, E-mail: jp@mm.unknown (email)
article id 5521, category Article
Taneli Kolström, Seppo Kellomäki. (1993). Tree survival in wildfires. Silva Fennica vol. 27 no. 4 article id 5521.
Keywords: Pinus sylvestris; forest fires; Picea abies; Betula spp.; Finland; mortality
Abstract | View details | Full text in PDF | Author Info

The survival of forest tree species in wildfires was examined on two burned stands. Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) and birches (Betula spp.) proved to be sensitive to the effects of wildfire; almost all individuals of these tree species were killed by the fires. Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) was more tolerable to the effects of wildfire; i.e. one out of five Scots pines survived. Fire tolerance increased as tree size increased.

The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.

  • Kolström, E-mail: tk@mm.unknown (email)
  • Kellomäki, E-mail: sk@mm.unknown
article id 5002, category Article
Antti Haapanen, Pertti Siitonen. (1978). Kulojen esiintyminen Ulvinsalon luonnonpuistossa. Silva Fennica vol. 12 no. 3 article id 5002.
English title: Forest fires in Ulvinsalo strict nature reserve in Northern Finland.
Original keywords: kuusi; mänty; metsäpalot; ekologia; Ulvinsalon luonnonpuisto; Kuhmo; palohistoria
English keywords: forest fires; Norway spruce; Scots pine; northern Finland; ecology; national park
Abstract | View details | Full text in PDF | Author Info

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.

The PDF includes a summary in English.

  • Haapanen, E-mail: ah@mm.unknown (email)
  • Siitonen, E-mail: ps@mm.unknown

Category : Article

article id 7424, category Article
P. A. Ennevaara. (1954). Metsäpalot vuosina 1952-1953. Acta Forestalia Fennica vol. 61 no. 12 article id 7424.
English title: Forest fires in 1952-1953 in Finland.
Original keywords: metsätalous; valtion metsät; yksityismetsät; metsäpalot; vakuutetut metsät; vakuuttamattomat metsät
English keywords: forest fires; forestry; Finland; state forests; private forests
Abstract | View details | Full text in PDF | Author Info

The statistics of forest fires in Finland expanded in 1952 to include uninsured forests, when previously the statistics included only fires in state forests and insured forest holdings. For private forests the material is collected by central forestry associations with the aid of district forestry boards, and for state forests by the Forest Service which also prepares the overall statistics on forest fires in the country. Forest fire statistics for 1952 and 1953 have been prepared on the basis of regional grouping by counties.

In 1952 a total of 299 forest fires were discovered, affecting a burnt area of 764 ha. Of these 20 were in state forests, burning 139 ha, and 279 in private forests, burning 625 ha. The average devastated area was 2.6 ha (in state forests 6.9 ha). This year was the easiest from the point of view of forest fires in the period between 1946-1953. The year 1953, on the other hand, was the worst of the period. The number of fires was only 216, but the burnt area was 8,955 ha. In state forests 87 fires devastated 8,624 ha. In private forests 129 fires burned 331 ha. The average area destroyed was 4.2 ha (in state forests 99.1 ha, and in private forests 2.6 ha). The largest fires on state forests were in the northernmost districts of the country.

The Silva Fennica issue 61 was published in honour of professor Eino Saari‘s 60th birthday.

  • Ennevaara, E-mail: pe@mm.unknown (email)
article id 7636, category Article
Kari Heliövaara, Rauno Väisänen. (1984). Effects of modern forestry on Northwestern European forest invertebrates: a synthesis. Acta Forestalia Fennica no. 189 article id 7636.
Keywords: forest fires; forest management; insects; forestry; intensive silviculture; Scandinavia; forest invertebrates; primeval forests; changes in boreal forest dynamics
Abstract | View details | Full text in PDF | Author Info

The effects of modern forestry on northwest European forest invertebrates are summarized and analysed mainly on the basis of published literature. The direct influence of different practices including clear-cutting, thinning, burning-over, ploughing, changes in tree species composition of stands, fertilization, insecticides, pheromones and biological control are discussed from a forest zoological point of view. Also, the indirect effects of general changes in boreal forest dynamics, loss of primeval forests, cessation of natural fires and the dominance of young stands are described. The direct effects of different silvicultural practices on the species composition and diversity of forest invertebrates are usually considered to be striking but transient. However, when large areas are treated, the species associated with primeval forests, especially with the wood composition system in them, as well as the species associated with fires, seem to have drastically declined. In northwest Europe, efficient forestry has not caused such serious pest problems as is known from tropical countries or North America.

The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.

  • Heliövaara, E-mail: kh@mm.unknown (email)
  • Väisänen, E-mail: rv@mm.unknown
article id 7625, category Article
Antti Turakka, Olavi Luukkanen, Suree Bhumibhamon. (1982). Notes on Pinus kesiya and P. merkusii and their natural regeneration in watershed areas of northern Thailand. Acta Forestalia Fennica no. 178 article id 7625.
Keywords: forest fires; natural regeneration; Pinus kesiya; Thailand; Pinus mercusii
Abstract | View details | Full text in PDF | Author Info

The aim of the present work was to clarify the structure of selected natural Pinus kesiya Royale ex Gord. And P. merkusii Jungh. et de Vriese stands, with particular attention on the amount and quality of naturally-occurring seedlings and young trees. Furthermore, basic information required in the management of pine stands in watershed areas of northern Thailand was obtained.

Large number of pine seedlings were found in P. kesiyana stands only. Two of the examined four localities where this species occurred also included various intermediary height classes under the mature trees. In dense stands the number of seedlings was generally smaller as compared with lower seed tree densities. Neither one of the two localities where P. Merkusii was investigated indicated sufficient natural regeneration. Young pines (over 5 m height) seemed to survive the frequent ground fires quite well, whereas younger seedlings were destroyed and the ground layer vigour was lowered in these cases.

In situ sowing experiments at the beginning of the dry season indicated a faster development and better survival of emerging P. Kesiya seedlings as compared to P. Merkusii. Soil preparation and exposure to sun decreased the survival of seedlings in both species. Utilization of natural regeneration and direct sowing of pines as a silvicultural method as well as the general significance of the two pine species in the succession of plant communities under the influence of forest fires is also discussed.

The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.

  • Turakka, E-mail: at@mm.unknown (email)
  • Luukkanen, E-mail: ol@mm.unknown
  • Bhumibhamon, E-mail: sb@mm.unknown

Category : Climate resilient and sustainable forest management – Research article

article id 23061, category Climate resilient and sustainable forest management – Research article
Noora Tienaho, Ninni Saarinen, Tuomas Yrttimaa, Ville Kankare, Mikko Vastaranta. (2024). Quantifying fire-induced changes in ground vegetation using bitemporal terrestrial laser scanning. Silva Fennica vol. 58 no. 3 article id 23061.
Keywords: forest fires; biomass; boreal forest; LIDAR; controlled burning; surface differencing; surface fires
Highlights: Bitemporal terrestrial laser scanning provided a means for identifying surface areas exposed to fire by utilizing a surface differencing method developed in this study; The developed method allowed for the quantification of fire-induced volumetric changes in ground vegetation at high resolution, facilitating the assessment of the impact of surface fires on forest ecosystems.
Abstract | Full text in HTML | Full text in PDF | Author Info

Forest fires pose a significant threat to forest carbon storage and sinks, yet they also play a crucial role in the natural dynamics of boreal forests. Accurate quantification of biomass changes resulting from forest fires is essential for damage assessment and controlled burning evaluation. This study utilized terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) to quantify changes in ground vegetation resulting from low-intensity surface fires. TLS data were collected before and after controlled burnings at eight one-hectare test sites in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) dominated boreal forests in Finland. A surface differencing-based method was developed to identify areas exposed to fire. Validation, based on visual interpretation of 1 × 1 m surface patches (n = 320), showed a recall, precision, and F1-score of 0.9 for the accuracy of identifying burned surfaces. The developed method allowed the assessment of the magnitude of fire-induced vegetation changes within the test sites. The proportions of burned 1 × 1 m areas within the test sites varied between 51–96%. Total volumetric change in ground vegetation was on average –1200 m³ ha-1, with burning reducing the vegetation volume by 1700 m³ ha-1 and vegetation growth increasing it by 500 m³ ha-1. Substantial variations in the volumetric changes within and between the test sites were detected, highlighting the complex dynamics of surface fires, and emphasizing the importance of having observations from multiple sites. This study demonstrates that bitemporal TLS measurements provide a robust means for characterizing fire-induced changes, facilitating the assessment of the impact of surface fires on forest ecosystems.

Category : Research article

article id 1207, category Research article
Olli-Pekka Tikkanen, Irina A. Chernyakova. (2014). Past human population history affects current forest landscape structure of Vodlozero National Park, Northwest Russia. Silva Fennica vol. 48 no. 4 article id 1207.
Keywords: boreal forests; forest fires; recovery; forest structure; landscape change
Highlights: In large scale (0–20 km), the proportion of spruce in forest stands was positively affected by distance from old villages. This relationship was non-linear with a threshold distance of 15 km; In small scale (0–5 km), old villages affected tree species composition and age structure of forests. Effect on age structure was the strongest on stands growing on mineral soils.
Abstract | Full text in HTML | Full text in PDF | Author Info
The information about location and size of past human settlements can give new insights into the analysis of landscape structures. Vodlozero National Park (NP) is one the largest strictly protected areas in Northwestern Europe. We mapped the location of historic villages, which were abandoned in 1958, and studied the effect of past human activity in the forest landscape in two different scales using forest survey data. We assessed the possible change in age, volume and tree species composition from the edge of open fields up to the distance of 5 km from villages. We made a larger landscape analysis using a grid of forest stands covering the whole northern part of the NP. The past human activity was clearly visible in the present forest landscape. Distance from villages affected age, volume and tree species composition of the forest stands. This effect was the strongest within the first two kilometers from the villages. At the level of whole northern NP, the proportion of spruce markedly increased after approximately 15 km from the nearest old village. The changes in the forests surrounding the villages were most likely the result of the intensive use of wood for different commodities needed in households and farming, in addition to short rotation slash and burn agriculture. If the occurrence of forest fires was more frequent closer to villages than in more remote areas, it can well explain the observed pattern in the abundance of spruce in the larger landscape that is less tolerant to fire than pine.
  • Tikkanen, Department of Biology, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland (Current: School of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland) & Interdisciplinary Research and Educational Center of Cross-border Communication CARELICA, Institute of History, Political and Social Sciences, Petrozavodsk State University, 33 Lenin Prospectus, 185910 Petrozavodsk, Republic of Karelia, Russia E-mail: (email)
  • Chernyakova, Interdisciplinary Research and Educational Center of Cross-border Communication CARELICA, Institute of History, Political and Social Sciences, Petrozavodsk State University, 33 Lenin Prospectus, 185910 Petrozavodsk, Republic of Karelia, Russia E-mail:
article id 47, category Research article
Iulian Dragotescu, Daniel D. Kneeshaw. (2012). A comparison of residual forest following fires and harvesting in boreal forests in Quebec, Canada. Silva Fennica vol. 46 no. 3 article id 47.
Keywords: forest fires; biodiversity; boreal mixedwood; clearcuts; disturbances; residual forests; tree retention
Abstract | View details | Full text in PDF | Author Info
Residual forests are a key component of post-burned areas creating structure within burns and providing habitat and seed sources. Yet, despite their importance to biodiversity and ecosystem processes there is little information on how similar or different residuals in burned landscape are to harvested landscapes. Our goal was to examine and compare the density, size, shape, and spatial arrangement of residual forest vegetation after fire and clearcutting. We evaluated residual forest in two locations within the boreal mixedwood region of Quebec, Canada using aerial photo interpretation and ArcGIS 9.1 software. We found residual stands to be larger and more abundant in harvested zones relative to sites affected by fire. Differences with respect to shape and spatial arrangement of residual forest were also observed among disturbance types. Factors such as proximity to watercourses, watercourse shape, and physiography affected residual abundance and spatial distribution. Residual forest in harvested zones tended to be more elongated with greater edge due to rules governing forest operations. Despite greater quantity of residual forest in harvested areas than fires, managers should still be prudent as the surrounding forest matrix is reduced in many managed landscapes.
  • Dragotescu, Université du Québec à Montréal, Centre d’Étude de la Forêt (CEF), Montreal, Quebec, Canada E-mail: (email)
  • Kneeshaw, Université du Québec à Montréal, Centre d’Étude de la Forêt (CEF), Montreal, Quebec, Canada E-mail:
article id 32, category Research article
Susete Marques, Jordi Garcia-Gonzalo, José G. Borges, Brigite Botequim, M. Manuela Oliveira, José Tomé, Margarida Tomé. (2011). Developing post-fire Eucalyptus globulus stand damage and tree mortality models for enhanced forest planning in Portugal. Silva Fennica vol. 45 no. 1 article id 32.
Keywords: forest fires; forest management; Eucalyptus globulus Labill; damage model; post-fire mortality
Abstract | View details | Full text in PDF | Author Info
Forest and fire management planning activities are carried out mostly independently of each other. This paper discusses research aiming at the development of methods and tools that can be used for enhanced integration of forest and fire management planning activities. Specifically, fire damage models were developed for Eucalyptus globulus Labill stands in Portugal. Models are based on easily measurable forest characteristics so that forest managers may predict post-fire mortality based on forest structure. For this purpose, biometric data and fire-damage descriptors from 2005/2006 National Forest Inventory plots and other sample plots within 2006, 2007 and 2008 fire areas were used. A three-step modelling strategy based on logistic regression methods was used. In the first step, a model was developed to predict whether mortality occurs after a wildfire in a eucalypt stand. In the second step the degree of damage caused by wildfires in stands where mortality occurs is quantified (i.e. percentage of mortality). In the third step this mortality is distributed among trees. Data from over 85 plots and 1648 trees were used for modeling purposes. The damage models show that relative damage increases with stand basal area. Tree level mortality models indicate that trees with high diameters, in dominant positions and located in regular stands are less prone to die when a wildfire occurs.
  • Marques, Technical University of Lisbon, School of Agriculture, Forest Research Center, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal E-mail: (email)
  • Garcia-Gonzalo, Technical University of Lisbon, School of Agriculture, Forest Research Center, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal E-mail:
  • Borges, Technical University of Lisbon, School of Agriculture, Forest Research Center, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal E-mail:
  • Botequim, Technical University of Lisbon, School of Agriculture, Forest Research Center, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal E-mail:
  • Oliveira, Technical University of Lisbon, School of Agriculture, Forest Research Center, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal E-mail:
  • Tomé, Technical University of Lisbon, School of Agriculture, Forest Research Center, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal E-mail:
  • Tomé, Technical University of Lisbon, School of Agriculture, Forest Research Center, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal E-mail:

Category : Research note

article id 23064, category Research note
Henrik Lindberg, Tuomas Aakala, Ilkka Vanha-Majamaa. (2024). Ignition probability and fuel consumption of boreal ground vegetation fuels – an experimental study in Finland. Silva Fennica vol. 58 no. 3 article id 23064.
Keywords: forest fires; ground vegetation; prescribed burning; flammability; fuel moisture content; mass loss rate
Highlights: Ignition probability and mass loss rates clearly differed in experimental burnings among four common circumboreal moss and lichen species; Cladonia rangiferina was the most flammable, Dicranum spp. the least flammable and Pleurozium schreberi and Hylocomium splendens intermediate.
Abstract | Full text in HTML | Full text in PDF | Author Info

In boreal forests fires often ignite and spread within the dominant moss and lichen cover of the ground layer vegetation, which thus greatly influences fire hazard. We used an experimental set-up in greenhouse conditions to study the differences in how (1) fuel moisture and (2) wind velocity influence the ignition probability and fuel consumption among four common circumboreal ground vegetation fuels, Pleurozium schreberi (Willd. ex Brid.) Mitt., Hylocomium splendens Schimp., Dicranum spp. and Cladonia rangiferina (L.) F. H. Wigg. Our results show that the reindeer lichen C. rangiferina was clearly the most flammable species, with high ignition probability even at high moisture contents and low wind velocities. Of the mosses, Dicranum was the least flammable, with low ignition probability and mass loss at low wind velocities regardless of moisture content. P. schreberi and H. splendens behaved somewhat similarly with wind velocities quickly increasing the initially low ignition probability and mass loss observed in the absence of wind. However, especially for mass loss, among-species differences tended to disappear with stronger winds. The observed differences can be explained by the different structures and growth forms of the studied species and open a potential avenue for improving forest fire risk predictions.

  • Lindberg, Häme University of Applied Sciences, School of Bioeconomy, Visamäentie 35 A, P.O. Box 230, FI-13100 Hämeenlinna, Finland ORCID E-mail: (email)
  • Aakala, University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest Sciences, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland ORCID E-mail:
  • Vanha-Majamaa, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Latokartanonkaari 9, FI-00790 Helsinki, Finland E-mail:

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