Direct and longer-term carbon emissions from arctic-boreal fires: a short review of recent advances
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Sander Veraverbeke; Clement J. F. Delcourt; Elena A. Kukavskaya; Michelle C. Mack; Xanthe J. Walker; Thomas Hessilt; Brendan M. Rogers; Rebecca C. Scholten
Publication Year: 2021

Cataloging Information

  • arctic
  • Arctic-Boreal zone
  • boreal
  • C - carbon
  • carbon sink
  • climate change
  • permafrost
  • soil respiration
  • tundra
  • wildfire
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 9, 2021
FRAMES Record Number: 63783


Increases in arctic-boreal fires can switch these biomes from a long-term carbon (C) sink to a source of atmospheric C through direct fire emissions and longer-term emissions from soil respiration. We here review advances made by the arctic-boreal fire science community over the last three years. Landscapes of intermediate drainage tend to experience the highest C combustion, dominated by soil C emissions, because of relatively thick and periodically dry organic soils. These landscapes may also induce a climate warming feedback through combustion and post-fire respiration of legacy C, including from permafrost thaw and degradation. Legacy C is soil C that had escaped burning in the previous fire. Data shortages from fires in tundra ecosystems and Eurasian boreal forests limit our understanding of C emissions from arctic-boreal fires. Interactions between fire, topography, vegetation, soil and permafrost need to be considered when estimating climate feedbacks of arctic-boreal fires.

Online Link(s):
Veraverbeke, Sander; Delcourt, Clement J.F.; Kukavskaya, Elena; Mack, Michelle; Walker, Xanthe; Hessilt, Thomas; Rogers, Brendan; Scholten, Rebecca C. 2021. Direct and longer-term carbon emissions from arctic-boreal fires: a short review of recent advances. Current Opinion in Environmental Science & Health online early.