Rapid ecological response and intensified knowledge accumulation following a north European mega-fire

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Deepened knowledge on response of biota and ecological processes following fire is essential for a future with warmer climate and more disturbances. In 2014 the first mega-fire (13,100 ha) for at least a century in Scandinavia hit south-central Sweden, in a production forest landscape shaped by clearcutting forestry. Ecological dynamics is followed in >20 projects from universities, authorities and citizen science initiatives, rapidly accumulating substantial amounts of data. We outline projects and summarize their results during the first four years, demonstrating a rapid succession of fungi, lichens, vascular plants, birds, mammals, ticks, butterflies, beetles, and drastically altered carbon dynamics. We characterize forest operations including regeneration measures and point to patterns in pest and pathogen infestations. 8,000 ha is set aside for natural succession, with the rest harvested and managed for forest production, offering excellent opportunities for studies on salvage logging effects, already evident for birds. We demonstrate a strong regrowth of deciduous trees, and the protected part will in some decades likely develop into the largest deciduous-dominated area in boreal north Europe outside Russia. Continued studies of biodiversity and ecological processes are urgent for this unique area.


  • Lena Gustafsson
  • Mårten Berglind
  • Anders Granström
  • Achim Grelle
  • Gunnar Isacsson
  • Petter Kjellander
  • Sören Larsson
  • Magnus Lindh
  • Lars B. Pettersson
  • Joachim Strengbom
  • Bengt Stridh
  • Tom Sävström
  • Göran Thor
  • Lars Ove Wikars
  • Grzegorz Mikusiński
External organisations
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Swedish Forest Agency
  • Västmanlands läns landsting / Region Västmanland
  • Västmanlands Ornitologiska Förening
  • Botaniska Föreningen i Västmanlands län
  • Sveriges Mykologiska Förening
  • No affiliation available (private)
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology


  • Biodiversity, disturbance, ecology, mega-fire, succession
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-253
Number of pages20
JournalScandinavian Journal of Forest Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch