The fire history in pine forests of the plain area in the Pechora-Ilych Nature Biosphere Reserve (Russia) before 1942: possible anthropogenic causes and long-term effects

Nature Conservation Research: Zapovednaâ Nauka. 2019;4(Suppl.1):21-34 DOI 10.24189/ncr.2019.033

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Nature Conservation Research: Zapovednaâ Nauka

ISSN: 2500-008X (Print)

Publisher: Fund for Support and Development of Protected Areas

LCC Subject Category: Geography. Anthropology. Recreation

Country of publisher: Russian Federation

Language of fulltext: Russian, English

Full-text formats available: PDF

 

AUTHORS

Alexei А. Aleinikov (Centre for Forest Ecology and Productivity of RAS)

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 13 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

The assessment of the succession status and the forecast of the development of pine forests depend on their origin and need a detailed study of historical and modern fire regimes. This article summarises the information on the dynamics of fires in the forests of the plain area in the Pechora-Ilych Biosphere Reserve (Russia) before 1942. Current forest fires in the pine forests in the Pechora-Ilych Biosphere Reserve are a legacy of previous traditional land use on this territory. Thanks to the material analysis of the first forest inventory, the condition of the forests of the plain area was assessed for the first time 10 years after the foundation of the Pechora-Ilych Biosphere Reserve. It was shown that about 50% of the forests of the modern plain area (most of the lichen, green moss-lichen and green moss-shrub communities) at that time were already touched by ground and crown fires. The population got accustomed to the smoke along the tributaries of the Pechora and the Ilych rivers, so that they reflected it in the names. Perhaps, for several centuries, fires were initiated by the Mansi, who used this territory as winter pastures until the middle of the 19th century. Eventually, a small human population actively visited the forests having the purpose of logging, hunting, gathering of wild-growing plants and fishing. The interfluve of the Pechora and Ilych rivers was a mosaic of land, divided between the inhabitants of various villages. Careless handling of fire led to numerous uncontrolled fires that no one put out and as a result, vast territories of forests were burnt. After the formation of the Pechora-Ilych Biosphere Reserve, these pine forests continued to burn, but much less. Since the plain area adjoins the navigable River Pechora, the anthropogenic causes of these fires cannot be completely ruled out. At the same time, we do not exclude the possibility of fires from dry thunderstorms. However, when assessing the modern fire regime, it is important to remember that the high fire danger in these forests is a legacy of previous impacts, which requires further study.