Vegetation recovery in fire-damaged forests: a case study at the southern boundary of the taiga zone

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Abstract

Wildfire is regarded as important environmental factor determining the vegetation of the Earth. We analyzed 11 plots at different types of forest affected by fire at the southern boundary of the taiga zone. These differ in structure of the forest stand and herb-shrub layer. Investigated factors included edaphic (moisture, pH, nitrogen) and climatic (light, temperature, continentality) characteristics. Also, projective cover of Epilobium angustifolium L. and undergrowth of secondary growth trees (including forest stand survived after fire influence) were studied. Multivariate data analysis revealed that the rate and character of the vegetation recovery was depended on the ratio of environmental factors and on the species composition of herb-shrub layer. No significant differences were found in Ellenberg’s indicator values between different years of study. All tested forest habitats were distinguished into three main groups: Group I includes broadleaf forests with the forest stand survived after fire influence, Group II includes spruce and birch forests deprived the forest stand due to fire impact, Group III includes more or less dry pine-dominated forests with the forest stand gradually died after fire influence. Two marshy plots have prerequisites to their allocation to a separate group close to the oligotrophic bog forests.

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