Co-ordinating Editor: Rasmus Ejrnæs
Fire history and vegetation recovery in two raised bogs at the Baltic Sea
Article first published online: 9 JUN 2011
© 2011 International Association for Vegetation Science
Journal of Vegetation Science
Volume 22, Issue 6, pages 1084–1093, December 2011
How to Cite
Sillasoo, Ü., Väliranta, M. and Tuittila, E.-S. (2011), Fire history and vegetation recovery in two raised bogs at the Baltic Sea. Journal of Vegetation Science, 22: 1084–1093. doi: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2011.01307.x
Sillasoo, Ü. (corresponding author, firstname.lastname@example.org): Department of Landscape Ecology, Institute of Ecology at Tallinn University, Uus-Sadama 5, 10120 Tallinn, Estonia Väliranta, M. (email@example.com): Department of Environmental Sciences, Environmental Change Research Unit (ECRU), P.O.Box 65, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland Tuittila, E.-S. (firstname.lastname@example.org): Peatland Ecology Group, Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland.
- Issue published online: 5 OCT 2011
- Article first published online: 9 JUN 2011
- Received 8 March 2010, Accepted 10 May 2011
- Boreal bog;
- Calluna vulgaris;
- Disturbance succession;
- Vegetation recovery
Questions: What were the bog fire patterns and frequencies in two boreal peatlands during the last 5000 years? What is the nature and time-scale of post-fire vegetation successions? Were fire events related to climate?
Location: Männikjärve bog, central east Estonia; Kontolanrahka bog, southwest Finland.
Methods: Macroscopic charcoal, plant macrofossils and radiocarbon dating were examined. Redundancy analysis was used in the assessments.
Results: During the last 5000 years, both of the above peatlands have experienced several fire events. A typical pre-fire vegetation community consisted of dry hummock Sphagnum spp., often accompanied by Calluna vulgaris. Only the most severe occasional fires resulted in a dramatic change in the vegetation composition. In these cases, a wet shift occurred, where the pre-fire hummock community was replaced by a wet hollow community. Calluna vulgaris was found to be a key species in both pre- and post-fire vegetation dynamics. The recovery time of dry microtopes following severe combustion and the subsequent hydrological change could take up to 350 years. Even after a long-lasting wet phase, the post-fire disturbance succession led towards a dry hummock community.
Conclusions: Fire succession appeared to be cyclic, starting as and developing towards a dry hummock community. Fires have been a regular phenomenon in boreal bogs, even in regions with rather low human impact. The fire history records did not indicate any direct link to the regional long-term climate.