Past, current and future fire frequency in the Canadian boreal forest: implications for sustainable forest management
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Yves Bergeron; Michael D. Flannigan; Sylvie Gauthier; Alain Leduc; Patrick Lefort
Publication Year: 2004

Cataloging Information

  • boreal forests
  • burning intervals
  • Canada
  • clearcutting
  • disturbance
  • fire frequency
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire size
  • forest management
  • logging
  • old growth forests
  • rate of spread
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: May 23, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 46042
Tall Timbers Record Number: 21698
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.


Over the past decades, there has been an increasing interest in the development of forest management approaches that are based on an understanding of historical natural disturbance dynamics. The rationale for such an approach is that management to favor landscape compositions and stand structures similar to those of natural ecosystems should also maintain biological diversity and essential ecological functions. In fire-dominated landscapes, this approach is possible only if current and future fire frequencies are sufficiently low, comparing to pre-industrial fire frequency, that we can substitute fire by forest management. We address this question by comparing current and future fire frequency to historical reconstruction of fire frequency from studies realized in the Canadian boreal forest. Current and simulated future fire frequencies using 2 and 3 x CO2 scenarios are lower than the historical fire frequency for many sites, suggesting that forest management could potentially be used to recreate the forest age structure of fire-controlled pre-industrial landscapes. There are however, important limitations to the current even-age management. © Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2004.

Bergeron, Y., M. D. Flannigan, S. Gauthier, A. Leduc, and P. Lefort. 2004. Past, current and future fire frequency in the Canadian boreal forest: implications for sustainable forest management. Ambio, v. 33, no. 6, p. 356-360.