Forest fires and sustainability in the boreal forests of Canada
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Michael G. Weber; Brian J. Stocks
Publication Year: 1998

Cataloging Information

  • boreal forests
  • Canada
  • climatology
  • cover
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • ecosystem function
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • lightning caused fires
  • statistical analysis
  • sustainability
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 5351
Tall Timbers Record Number: 11351
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, 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.


The boreal forest is the largest forest region in Canada, occupying approximately 315 million ha. Within this forest region the long-term average annual area burned is 1.3 million ha, with extreme fire years being common, and covering up to 7 million ha in a single fire season. Only 2-3% of those fires that cover more than 200 ha eventually contribute about 98% of the total area burned annually. Careful examination of fire statistics seems to indicate that fire occurrence is increasing in the boreal forest. Boreal forest tree species and ecosystems are adapted to the periodic passage of fire and some would disappear as natural components of the landscape in the absence of fire. Use of fire as a management tool recognizes the natural role of fire and is applied judiciously for ecosystem maintenance and restoration in selected areas. The implications of possible anthropogenically generated climate change are examined within the context of sustainability of the boreal forest biome and the anticipated impact on fire regime and fire management.

Online Link(s):
Weber, Michael G.; Stocks, Brian J. 1998. Forest fires and sustainability in the boreal forests of Canada. Ambio 27(7):545-550.