Skip to main content
Log in

Wildfire Dynamics in Pine Forests of Central Siberia in a Changing Climate

Contemporary Problems of Ecology Aims and scope

Cite this article


Climate change increases the frequency of forest fires throughout the entire boreal zone. This paper examines the long-term wildfire dynamics in pine forests of Central Siberia, relationships between environmental and climatic variables on the one hand and the occurrence frequency of fires and size of burnt forest areas on the other, and the postfire dynamics of vegetation cover productivity. A coupled analysis of ground survey data, remote sensing data (spectroradiometric and gravimetric information collected by the Terra/MODIS and GRACE satellites), and dendroecological data is performed. In the period from the 18th to the 20th century, fire return intervals decreased from 33 to 20–25 years. No statistically significant trends in fire occurrence frequency were identified in the current century; however, catastrophic (i.e., affecting more than 1 million ha) fires were observed in its second decade, and both the number of fires and size of burnt areas have significantly increased (by 3.5 and 3.0 times, respectively). The frequency of fires and size of burnt areas closely correlate with wetting and temperature conditions in the prefire period. Furthermore, fire statistics parameters correlate with wetting conditions (precipitation amount, moisture content in the ground cover and soil, and the Self-Calibrated Palmer Drought Severity Index (sc-PDSI)) stronger than with air temperature. It is shown that equivalent water thickness values obtained using gravimetric methods can be used in fire risk assessments. High correlation levels were identified between the growth index of pine trees and vegetation cover productivity indices (i.e., gross primary productivity (GPP) and net primary productivity (NPP)) generated based on remote sensing data. The results indicate that these indices can be used to estimate forest stand productivity dynamics. The vegetation cover productivity and the radial growth index of pine trees in burnt areas quickly (within a decade) restore to prefire values, which indicates that northern pine forests retain their carbon sequestration function despite climate change and the increasing frequency of fires.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

Fig. 1.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 5.
Fig. 6.
Fig. 7.


  1. Bartalev, S.A. and Stytsenko, F.V., Assessment of Forest-Stand Destruction by Fires Based on Remote-Sensing Data on the Seasonal Distribution of Burned Areas, Contemp. Probl. Ecol., 2021, vol. 14, no. 7, pp. 711–716

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bartalev, S.A., Stytsenko, F.V., Egorov, V.A., et al., Satellite-based assessment of Russian forest fire mortality, Lesovedenie, 2015, no. 2, pp. 83–94.

  3. Bartalev, S.A., Egorov, V. A., Zharko, V.O., et al., Sputnikovoe kartografirovanie rastitel’nogo pokrova Rossii (Satellite Mapping of the Vegetation Cover of Russia), Moscow: Inst. Kosm. Issled., Ross. Akad. Nauk, 2016.

  4. Calef, M.P., Varvak, A., McGuire, A.D., Chapin III, F.S., and Reinhold, K.B., Recent changes in annual area burned in interior Alaska: The impact of fire management, Earth Interact., 2015, no. 19, pp. 1–16.

  5. Coogan, S.C.P., Robinne, F.-N., Jain, P., and Flannigan, M.D., Scientists’ warning on wildfire–a Canadian perspective, Can. J. For. Res., 2019, no. 49, pp. 1–9.

  6. Didan, K. and Munoz, A.B., MODIS Vegetation Index User’s Guide (MOD13 Series). Version 3.10 (Collection 6), 2019.

  7. Dieterich, J.A. and Swetnam, T.W., Dendrochronology of a fire-scarred ponderosa pine, For. Sci., 1984, vol. 30, pp. 238–247

    Google Scholar 

  8. Flannigan, M., Stocks, B., Turetsky, M., and Wotton, M., Impacts of climate change on fire activity and fire management in the circumboreal forest, Global Change Bio-l., 2009, no. 15, pp. 549–560.

  9. Fritts, H.C., Tree-Rings and Climate, London: Acad. Press, 1976.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Furyaev, V.V., Tsvetkov, P.A., and Furyaev, E.V., Fire resistance of pine forests of Eurasia in extreme fire seasons, Khvoynyye Boreal’noy Zony, 2017, vol. 35, nos. 3–4, pp. 68–73.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Giglio, L., Descloitres, J., Justice, C.O., and Kaufman, Y., An enhanced contextual fire detection algorithm for MODIS, Remote Sensing Environ., 2003, vol. 87, pp. 273–282.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Giglio, L., Boschetti, L., Roy, D.P., Humber, M.L., and Justice, C.O., The Collection 6 MODIS burned area mapping algorithm and product, Remote Sensing Environ., 2018, vol. 217, pp. 72–85.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Girardin, M.P., Ali, A.A., Carcaillet, C., Mudelsee, M., Drobyshev, I., Hély, C., and Bergeron, Y., Heterogeneous response of circumboreal wildfire risk to climate change since the early 1900s, Global Change Biol., 2009, vol. 15, pp. 2751–2769.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Hanes, C.C., Wang, X., Jain, P., Parisien, M.-A., Little, J., and Flannigan, M., Fire regime changes in Canada over the last half century, Can. J. For. Res., 2019, vol. 49, pp. 256–269.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Harvey, B.J. and Enright, N.J., Climate change and altered fire regimes: impacts on plant populations, species, and ecosystems in both hemispheres, Plant Ecol., 2022, vol. 223, pp. 699–709.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Ivanova, G.A., Ivanov, V.A., and Kukavskaya, E.A., Frequency of fires in the forests of the Tyva Republic, Khvoy-nyye Boreal’noy Zony, 2015, vol. 33, nos. 5–6, pp. 204–209.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Ivanova, G.A., Kovaleva, N.M., Zhila, S.V., et al., Succession of vegetation after a high-intensity fire in a pine forest with lichens, Contemp. Probl. Ecol., 2017, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 52–61.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Kharuk, V.I. and Antamoshkina, O.A., Impact of silkmoth outbreak on taiga wildfires, Contemp. Probl. Ecol., 2017, vol. 10, no. 5, pp. 556–562.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Kharuk, V. I., Dvinskaya, M. L., Petrov, I. A., Im, S.T., and Ranson, K. J., Larch forests of Middle Siberia: long-term trends in fire return intervals, Reg. Environ. Change, 2016, vol. 16, pp. 2389–2397.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  20. Kharuk, V.I., Im, S.T., Petrov, I. A., Golyukov, A.S., Ranson, K.J., and Yagunov, M.N., Climate-induced mortality of Siberian pine and fir in the Lake Baikal Watershed, Siberia, For. Ecol. Manage., 2017, vol. 384, pp. 191–199.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Kharuk, V.I., Ponomarev, E.I., Ivanova, G.A., Dvinskaya, M.L., Coogan, S.C.P., and Flannigan, M.D., Wildfires in the Siberian taiga, Ambio, 2021, no. 50, pp. 1953–1974.

  22. Kharuk, V.I., Dvinskaya, M.L., Im, S.T., Golyukov, A.S., and Smith, K.T., Wildfires in the Siberian Arctic, Fire, 2022, no. 5, vol. 106, pp. 1–16.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Kitzberger, T., Falk, D.A., Westerling, A.L., and Swetnam, T.W., Direct and indirect climate controls predict heterogeneous earlymid 21st century wildfire burned area across western and boreal North America, PLoS One, 2017, vol. 12, p. e0188486.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  24. Madani, N., Parazoo, N.C., Kimball, J.S., Reichle, R.H., Chatterjee, A., Watts, J.D., et al., The impacts of climate and wildfire on ecosystem gross primary productivity in Alaska, J. Geophys. Res.: Biogeosci., 2021, vol. 126, p. e2020JG006078.

  25. Margolis, E.Q., Guiterman, C.H., Chavardes, R.D., et al., The North American tree-ring fire-scar network, Ecosphere, 2022, vol. 13, no. 7, pp. 1–36.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Mekonnen, Z.A., Riley, W.J., Randerson, J.T., Grant, R.F., and Rogers, B.M., Expansion of high-latitude deciduous forests driven by interactions between climate warming and fire, Nat. Plants, 2019, no. 5, pp. 952–958

  27. Ponomarev, E.I., Kharuk, V.I., and Ranson, K.J., Wildfires dynamics in Siberian larch forests, Forests, 2016, no. 7, vol. 125, pp. 1–9.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Rinn, F., TSAP V 3.6 Reference Manual: Computer Program for Tree-Ring Analysis and Presentation, Heidelberg, 1996.

  29. Running, S.W. and Zhao, M., Daily GPP and Annual NPP (MOD17A2/A3) Products NASA Earth Observing System MODIS Land Algorithm. Useŕs Guide. Version 3.0 (Collection 6), 2015.

  30. Speer, J. H., Fundamentals of Tree-Ring Research, Univ. Arizona Press, 2010.

  31. Swetnam, T. and Baisan, C., Historical fire regime patterns in the southwestern United States since AD 1700, in Proceedings of the 2nd La Mesa Fire Symposium “Fire Effects in Southwestern Fortest”, Allen, C.D., Ed., USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, General Technical Report RM-GTR-286, 1996, pp. 11–32.

  32. Todd, S.K. and Jewkes, H.A., Wildland Fire in Alaska: a History of Organized Fire Suppression and Management in the Last Frontier, Fairbanks: Univ. Alaska, Agric. For. Exp. Stn., 2006.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Tsvetkov, P.A., Pyrophytic properties of the larch Larix gmelinii in terms of life strategies, Russ. J. Ecol., 2004, vol. 35, no 4, pp. 224–229.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Vaganov, E.A., Arbatskaya, M.K., and Shashkin, A.V., History of climate and fire frequency in the central part of the Krasnoyarsk Territory. 2. Dendrochronological analysis of the relationship between tree growth variability, climate, and fire frequency, Sib. J. Ecol., 1996, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 19–28

    Google Scholar 

  35. Vasilakos, C., Tsekouras, G.E., Palaiologou, P., and Kalabokidis, K., Neural-network time-series analysis of MODIS EVI for post-fire vegetation regrowth, ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf., 2018, vol. 7, no. 11, p. 420;

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Vicente-Serrano, S.M., Beguería, S., and López-Moreno, J.I., A multiscalar drought index sensitive to global warming: The standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index, J. Clim., 2010, vol. 23, pp. 1696–1718.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Wang, Z., Huang, J.G., Ryzhkova, N., Li, J., Kryshen, A., Voronin, V., Li, R., Bergeron, Y., and Drobyshev, I., 352 years long fire history of a Siberian boreal forest and its primary driving factor Global Planet. Change, 2021, vol. 207, p. 103653

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Wells, N., Goddard, S., and Hayes, M.J., A self-calibrating Palmer Drought Severity Index, J. Clim., 2004, vol. 17, pp. 2335–2351.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Yang, Y., Long, D., Guan, H., Scanlon, B.R., Simmons, C.T., Jiang, L., and Xu, X., GRACE satellite observed hydrological controls on interannual and seasonal variability in surface greenness over mainland Australia, J. Geophys. Res. Biogeosci., 2014, vol. 119, pp. 2245–2260

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Yao, Q., Fang, K., and Wang, Z., Fire history and its forcing in Northeastern Asia boreal forests, Nat. Hazards Res., 2022.

Download references


The research was funded by RFBR, Krasnoyarsk Territory and Krasnoyarsk Regional Fund of Science (project no. 20-44-240007) and the Tomsk State University Development Program (Priority 2030).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to I. A. Petrov.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Additional information

Translated by L. Emeliyanov

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Petrov, I.A., Shushpanov, A.S., Golyukov, A.S. et al. Wildfire Dynamics in Pine Forests of Central Siberia in a Changing Climate. Contemp. Probl. Ecol. 16, 36–46 (2023).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: