ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0001.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Forestry Keywords: boreal forest; forest fire; ENSO; Altai Mountain
Online: 1 August 2020 (16:18:27 CEST)
Warming-induced drought stress and El Nino associated summer precipitation failure are responsible for increased forest fire intensities of tropical and temperate forests in Asia and Australia. However, both effects are unclear for boreal forests, the largest biome and carbon stock over land. Here we combined fire frequency, burned area and climate data in the Altai boreal forests, the southmost extension of Siberia boreal forest into China, and explored their link with ENSO (El Nino and South Oscillation). Surprisingly, both summer drought severity and fire occurrence have shown significant (P<0.05) teleconnections with La Nina events of the previous year, and therefore provide an important reference for forest fire prediction and prevention in Altai. Despite a significant warming trend, the increased moisture over Altai has largely offset the effect of warming-induced drought stress, and lead to an insignificant fire frequency trend in the last decades, and largely reduced burned area since the 1980s. The reduced burned area could also benefit from the fire suppression efforts and greatly increased investment in fire prevention since 1987.