Predicting the effects of climate change on fire frequency in the southeastern Canadian boreal forest
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Yves Bergeron; Michael D. Flannigan
Publication Year: 1995

Cataloging Information

  • air temperature
  • boreal forests
  • Canada
  • carbon dioxide
  • climate change
  • disturbance
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • fire danger rating
  • fire frequency
  • fire intensity
  • fire regimes
  • histories
  • humidity
  • precipitation
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: February 22, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 37190
Tall Timbers Record Number: 11636
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Although an increasing frequency of forest fires has been suggested as a consequence of global warming, there are no empirical data that have shown climatically driven increases in fire frequency since the warming that has followed the end of the 'Little Ice Age' (~1850). In fact, a 300-year fire history (AD 1688-1988) from the Lac Duparquet area (48º28'N, 79º17'W) shows a significant decrease both in the number and extent of fires starting 100 years ago during a period of warming. To explore this relationship between climatic change and fire frequency we used daily data from the Canadian Atmospheric Environment Service's General Circulation Model to calculate components of the Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index (FI) System for the 1xCO2 and 2xCO2 scenarios. The average FWI over much of eastern Canada, including the Lac Duparquet region, decreased under the 2xCO2 simulation, whereas FWI increased dramatically over western Canada. According to these results, fire frequency would decrease over the southeastern boreal forest which is in agreement with the empirical data from the fire history. Our results stress the importance of large regional variability and call into question previous generalisations suggesting universal increases in the rate of disturbance with climate warming.

Bergeron, Y., and M. D. Flannigan. 1995. Predicting the effects of climate change on fire frequency in the southeastern Canadian boreal forest. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, v. 82, p. 437-444.