Fire history from soil charcoal in a naturally fragmented boreal forest, northern Sweden

Authors: Christopher Underwood*, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Evan R Larson, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
Topics: Paleoenvironmental Change, Biogeography, Physical Geography
Keywords: Fire history, soil charcoal, boreal forest
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Riverview II, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 41st Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

We documented the presence of macroscopic (> 2 mm) charcoal, quantified charcoal mass, and obtained AMS radiocarbon dates of charcoal macrofossils in 128 soil samples from 16 distinct forested islands to develop a coarse-resolution fire history for a boreal forest in Granlandet Nature Reserve, northern Sweden. Macroscopic charcoal occurred in 59% (76 of 128) of the soil samples and on all but one island. Total dry mass of macroscopic charcoal varied by soil sample. Charcoal mass was greatest on two islands in New Bruntland (translation, newly burned land), an area within Granlandet that contains an indigenous hunting cabin. This finding may be evidence of an anthropogenically altered fire regime in the study area. Macroscopic soil charcoal was not correlated with island area, perimeter length, or shape, nor was it correlated with importance values of any tree species currently growing on these islands. Thirty charcoal fragments were haphazardly selected for taxonomic identification. This was the first study to use soil-charcoal macrofossils as a primary proxy to document past fire events in the Arctic boreal forests of Granlandet Nature Reserve.

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