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Siberian Journal of Forest Science

2015 year, number 6

Fire History of Dark Needle Coniferous Forests in Pechora-Ilych Nature Reserve from the Second Half of XIX Century to Present Time

A. A. Aleynikov1, A. V. Tyurin1, L. V. Simakin2, A. S. Efimenko1, A. A. Laznikov1
1Centre for Forest Ecology and Production, Russian Academy of Sciences, Profsoyuznaya str., 84/32, Moscow, 117997 Russian Federation
2Pechora-Ilych Biosphere Nature Reserve, Yaksha village, Troitsk-Pechora district, Komi Republic, 169436 Russian Federation
Keywords: Печоро-Илычский заповедник, бореальные леса, история природопользования, лесные пожары, пирогенные сукцессии, Северный Урал, Pechora-Ilych biosphere nature reserve, boreal forests, history of nature use, forest fires, after fire successions, Northern Urals


A study of the vegetation cover current state in any area should start from detailed investigation of its land-use history. Historic factors are of particular importance for forest ecosystems of protected nature areas as usually they are regarded as models and their history is neglected. The article describes fire history of the piedmont area of Pechora-Ilych biosphere nature reserve based on high resolution remote sensing data analysis and historical records. Such method allows reconstruction of forest fires back to 150 years ago. Field research of the tree stands age structure is needed to reveal older fires. 89 burns of 78 893 ha total area were detected, which is 11 % of the piedmont area of the reserve. The burns are distributed unevenly across the area: 76 % are in the Ilych river basin and the rest are in the Pechora river basin. All burns are classified into 4 types according to the periods during which they happened. Burned areas in both river basins changed during these periods: major part of the forest cover in the Ilych basin was damaged before the reserve was established, in the Pechora river basin -in the first decade after its foundation. Only 20 burns are precisely dated out of 73 burns happened in the XX century. Causes are also not determined for all fires. Probably both natural (lightning) and anthropogenic factors caused fires. Known anthropogenic fires are allocated to settlements and floating rivers and cover huge areas (thousands and tens of thousands hectares). Natural fires are at distant watershed areas and are significantly smaller (tens and hundreds hectares).