Post-fire reforestation; securing climate-relevant carbon baseline data from soil and canopy to ecosystem scale

Projekt: Forskning

Beskrivning

Exceptionally dry and hot weather this summer resulted in Sweden’s most extreme wildfire season in modern history. Climate warming is predicted to increase the frequency of extreme fires in Sweden and the boreal regions worldwide.
Wildfires release vast amounts of greenhouse gases (GHG). In the long term, wildfires may become ‘carbon neutral’ if vegetation regrowth recaptures the lost carbon (C). A full understanding of the C fluxes due to fire is thus crucial for C budgeting. However, very little data exists on the GHG emissions from fires in boreal Eurasia. It is also unclear which of the common post-fire management strategies is most effective in re-establishing burnt forests from C sources to sinks.
This project addresses these critical gaps utilising Sweden’s largest wildfire of 2018. In collaboration with the Swedish Forest Agency, our team of leading Swedish and UK wildfire and GHG experts aim to establish a field experiment, which for the first time include different post-fire management approaches.
The urgency for this highly novel research is imperative as plots need to be established and data collection initiated before the first re-growing season and before harvesting is completed (05/2019). The unique data and resulting insights from the critical first post-fire year will be invaluable and also underpin further proposals aiming at quantifying the effects of fires and post-fire management on the forest C balance through subsequent post-fire years.

Populärvetenskaplig beskrivning

Exceptionally dry and hot weather this summer resulted in the largest number of wildfires in Sweden in modern history. It has been suggested that such extreme wildfire seasons may become the ‘new normal’ under our warming climate not only in Sweden, but the boreal regions worldwide.
Wildfires release vast amounts of greenhouse gases including carbon, however, as forests recover, this emitted carbon can be taken up again by the regrowing vegetation, returning forest to carbon sinks. For Swedish forests, little is known about how much greenhouse gases are released during and after fire, and which management approaches are most effective in re-establishing burnt forests from carbon sources to sinks.
In collaboration with the Swedish Forest Agency and our team of leading Swedish and UK wildfire experts, we will be able to answer these questions by investigating Sweden’s largest wildfire of 2018. This will include monitoring burnt and unburnt areas and, for the first time also areas subjected to different post-fire management approaches.
This project requires a rapid start as plots need to be established and data collection initiated before the first re-growing season and before the already ongoing harvesting is completed (05/2019). This allows addressing the questions above for the critical first year after the fire, and provides the necessary basis for securing sites and follow-on funding for longer-term monitoring through subsequent post-fire years.
StatusPågående
Gällande start-/slutdatum2019/04/012020/03/31

Samarbetspartner

  • Lunds universitet (ansvarig)
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå
  • Swansea University

Participants