Effects of climate and fire on short-term vegetation recovery in the boreal larch forests of Northeastern China

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Understanding the influence of climate variability and fire characteristics in shaping postfire vegetation recovery will help to predict future ecosystem trajectories in boreal forests. In this study, I asked: (1) which remotely-sensed vegetation index (VI) is a good proxy for vegetation recovery? and (2) what are the relative influences of climate and fire in controlling postfire vegetation recovery in a Siberian larch forest, a globally important but poorly understood ecosystem type? Analysis showed that the shortwave infrared (SWIR) VI is a good indicator of postfire vegetation recovery in boreal larch forests. A boosted regression tree analysis showed that postfire recovery was collectively controlled by processes that controlled seed availability, as well as by site conditions and climate variability. Fire severity and its spatial variability played a dominant role in determining vegetation recovery, indicating seed availability as the primary mechanism affecting postfire forest resilience. Environmental and immediate postfire climatic conditions appear to be less important, but interact strongly with fire severity to influence postfire recovery. If future warming and fire regimes manifest as expected in this region, seed limitation and climate-induced regeneration failure will become more prevalent and severe, which may cause forests to shift to alternative stable states.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37572
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 18 2016

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of climate and fire on short-term vegetation recovery in the boreal larch forests of Northeastern China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this