Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 17

The collected samples were cross-dated by
dendrochronology, a method used to date wooden
samples by comparing tree rings with a known timesequence from many other collected and dated tree
ring series. In this way, scientists can determine the
date and location of forest fires with great accuracy.
Based on where in the tree ring the damage occurred,
the forest researchers can also say at what time of the
year it burned.
From this record, the authors estimated fire location,
frequency, size, and seasonality over the last 700
years, comparing the fire history to historical records
from the National Archives of Norway, including
juridical documents, diplomas, and old maps of the
area and old agricultural textbooks and reports. They
dated 254 individual fires from AD 1257-2009. The
oldest living tree they sampled dated to AD 1515 and
the oldest stump to AD 1070.
From AD 1300 to 1600, wildfires ignited during late
summer, with about 5-10 ignitions per quarter century,
generally occurring during warm, dry summers.
In the next two centuries, fire frequency rose
dramatically, particularly in the mid-17th century. Early
summer fires grew in prevalence. Books and other
documents from this time period record a rising use
of slash-and-burn cultivation and rangeland burning,
explained author Ken Olaf Storaunet. The population
was recovering from the devastation of the Black Death

852887_International.indd 1

and several subsequent epidemics. People returned to
abandoned lands and began using fire to improve land
for grazing animals and to cultivate crops. The average
length of time between recurrences of fire in the same
location fell by half, from 73 to 37 years.
Increasing demand for timber in Europe raised
the value of forests and discouraged slash-and-burn
cultivation practices. The fires legislation banning the
use of fire in Norway came in 1683. After AD 1800, fire
frequency and size dropped precipitously, with only 19
fires occurring in the study area during the last 200 years.
Ecologically, the period from 1625 and onwards to
today is probably unique, and something that perhaps
has not happened in thousands of years, Storaunet says.
Studies in Alaska and Canada have projected that
hotter, drier summers may increase annual wildfire burn
areas by two to three times by the end of the century.
In Norway, the North Atlantic Ocean may temper hotter
summers with more precipitation.
Many of today's forest reserves have perhaps never
been as unnatural as they are today, Storaunet pointed out.
The historical studies in Trillemarka-Rollagsfjell nature
reserve show that fire has been a natural, and very
dynamic, part of the forest ecosystem throughout history.
And this ecosystem is affected by climate, vegetation and
not least the way humans use forest, Storaunet says.
A
Source: Ecological Society of America

25/01/17 12:54 am

Fall 2017 * WOODLAND 17


http://www.internationalforest.co http://www.smarterseedlings.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Woodlands - Fall 2017

Overstory
Tools and Resources
Forests and Families
A Legacy to Keep
From Forests to Fermentation
Feathering a Forested Nest
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - intro
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - cover1
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - cover2
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 3
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - Overstory
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 5
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 6
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 7
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 8
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 9
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 10
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 11
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 12
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 13
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 14
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 15
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 16
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 17
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - Tools and Resources
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 19
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - Forests and Families
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 21
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 22
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 23
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - A Legacy to Keep
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 25
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 26
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 27
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 28
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 29
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - From Forests to Fermentation
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 31
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 32
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 33
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - Feathering a Forested Nest
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 35
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 36
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 37
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 38
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - cover3
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - cover4
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