The role of fire in the boreal carbon budget
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Jennifer W. Harden; Susan E. Trumbore; Brian J. Stocks; Adam I. Hirsch; Stith Thomas Gower; Katherine P. O'Neill; Eric S. Kasischke
Publication Year: 2000

Cataloging Information

  • air quality
  • Alnus
  • boreal forests
  • Canada
  • carbon
  • chemistry
  • crown fires
  • deciduous forests
  • decomposition
  • disturbance
  • drainage
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • forest management
  • hardwood forests
  • lichens
  • Manitoba
  • mosses
  • peatlands
  • Picea
  • pine forests
  • Pinus
  • Pleurozium schreberi
  • Populus
  • Salix
  • soil temperature
  • soils
  • sphagnum
  • statistical analysis
  • surface fires
  • tundra
  • wetlands
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: August 13, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 41852
Tall Timbers Record Number: 16805
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.


To reconcile observations of decomposition rates, carbon inventories, and net primary production (NPP), we estimated long‐term averages for C exchange in boreal forests near Thompson, Manitoba. Soil drainage as defined by water table, moss cover, and permafrost dynamics, is the dominant control on direct fire emissions. In upland forests, an average of about 10–30% of annual NPP was likely consumed by fire over the past 6500 years since these landforms and ecosystems were established. This long‐term, average fire emission is much larger than has been accounted for in global C cycle models and may forecast an increase in fire activity for this region. While over decadal to century times these boreal forests may be acting as slight net sinks for C from the atmosphere to land, periods of drought and severe fire activity may result in net sources of C from these systems.

Online Link(s):
Harden, J. W., S. E. Trumbore, B. J. Stocks, A. Hirsch, S. T. Gower, K. P. O'Neill, and E. S. Kasischke. 2000. The role of fire in the boreal carbon budget. Global Change Biology, v. 6, p. 174-184.