Holocene records of fire from the boreal and temperate zones of Europe

  • R. H. W. Bradshaw
  • K. Tolonen
  • M. Tolonen
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 51)


Fire has long been associated with boreal forest systems, but its natural role in European temperate forest is poorly known. Fire regimes in Europe have been significantly influenced by human activities for varying lengths of time. We examine the late Holocene records of fire as recorded by charcoal fragments in lakes, peatlands, and small forest hollows in a variety of European forest types. A gradient of vegetation response to fire is apparent, ranging from fire-adapted boreal communities to fire-sensitive deciduous forests. Fire frequencies have varied in space and time in association with both climatic and vegetation changes. Human activity has often exploited pre-existing ‘natural’ fire regimes, having both stimulated and suppressed fire at different times. Our case studies are drawn from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Ireland. We explore the linkage between fire and certain key ecological processes such as paludification, species immigrations, and changes in soil microbiology.


Fire Regime Regional Fire Charcoal Fragment Fire Interval Microscopic Charcoal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. H. W. Bradshaw
    • 1
  • K. Tolonen
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Tolonen
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Southern Swedish Forest Research CentreSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesAlnarpSweden
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of JoensuuJoensuuFinland
  3. 3.Department of BotanyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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