Russia’s Wildland Fire Data in the IAASA Database “Land Resources of Russia”

Russia’sWildland Fire Data 
in the 
IAASA Database “Land Resources of Russia”

Russia’sWildland Fire Data in the IAASA Database “Land Resources of Russia”
(Extract of CD-ROM published by the International Institute for Applied SystemsAnalysis)

Remarkson Source and Copyrights

TheCD-ROM production was initiated and supported by the Russian Committee ofSystems Analysis of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Forestry Project ofthe International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). The baselinedata have been developed at IIASA with considerable contributions from variousinstitutes and organizations within Russia. The complete CD-ROM can bedownloaded at:

 Thefire chapter and the graphs reproduced below can be downloaded at:

Forest fires
By Georgi Korovin,
Center for Problems of Ecology and Productivity of Forests, Russia

Fire remains one of the dominating forces determiningtree species composition, age structure, and dynamics in boreal forests.Uncontrolled fires have a destructive impact on forest vegetation and fauna;they damage the soil, effect erosion, and pollute the atmosphere with combustionproducts. Fire used purposefully represents a useful tool for solving numerousforestry tasks, including the control of undesirable vegetation, the promotionof natural regeneration, and the regulation of stocks of forest combustiblematerials. The ecological role of the fire is complex, and its full exclusionfrom forest life is impossible and inexpedient. Therefore, it is urgent that aneffective system of management by forest fires should be created. According tostatistical reports for the period from 1976 to 2000, 11,800 to 36,600 forestfires are recorded each year on an area from 235,000 to 5,340,000 hectares (ha)within the protected territory of the Russian Federation Forest Fund. At thesame time, the area of forestlands annually attacked by fire varies from 170,000to 4,290,000 ha. Crown fires, which result in practically full death of stock,exert the most damage to forest resources. Fires of this type represent from7.0% to 23% of the total area of forest fund annually attacked by fire. Theground fires are the most widespread, effecting a stock damage of a differentintensity. Ground fires represent from 70% to 90% of the annually burning areas.Soil fires are the least spread, but they are the most destructive. Their shareis not more than 0.5% of the forest fund area annually attacked by fire.

Most forest fires (more than 85%) are caused by people.The share of natural sources (thunderstorm discharges) makes up about 12% of thetotal number and 42.0% of the total area of fires. Forest fires of anthropogenicorigin make up 77.0% of the forest fires in the Asian part of the country andabout 93.0% in the European part.

The spatial structure of forest fires can be describedas high fire frequency and small fire areas in the European part of the countryand as small fire frequency and extensive fire areas in the Asian part ofRussia. Annually, from 24.4% to 66.2% of all appearing fires are recorded, as isfrom 0.4% to 13.2% of the total area burned by fire in the European part of theRussian Federation. Similarly, for the Asian part, from 33.8% to 75.8% of thetotal number of fires are recorded, as is from 86.8% to 99.6% of the totalforest burned by fire.

 The northern regions of Siberia and the Far East, whichaccount for about a third of the total forest fund area, are in unprotectedterritory, where fires are neither recorded and nor evolved into statisticalmaterials. Forest fires in these regions are indirectly estimated through stateforest inventory data, which include information about burnt areas in allforestry farms and in the subjects of the Russian Federation. By 1 .January1998, Russia’s forest fund included 23.2 million ha of burnt area, andpractically half of this area was located within unprotected territory. Theshare of burnt areas within these territories having delicate ecosystems istwice as high as its corresponding parameter within protected territory. Thus,the ramifications for environmental recovery are serious.

 The lack of a regular accounting of forest fireswithin unprotected territories and insufficient instrumental control of fireareas within protected territories make an integrated system of forest firemonitoring imperative. To begin with, it is necessary to develop its spacecomponent, and to provide the possibility of recording and mapping the largefires over the whole territory of the forest fund.

 The database on forest fires contains three filescharacterizing spatial distribution of fires, burned area, and burnt forestareas. The first file contains the coordinates of squares making up a 1° x 1°grid. The grid portrays the frequency of fire appearing (average annual firenumber per 1 million ha) within each square. The annual number of fires withinthe air protection zone was taken from a data bank on forest fires for theperiod of 1987-2000; the ground protection zone data came from forest firestatistics (5-lh form) for the same time period.

The second file includes the coordinates of the samegrid squares and the percent of forestlands annually attacked by fire withinthese squares. The area annually consumed by fire was taken from the samesources as were the data for fire number, and the area of forestlands was takenfrom the data of the last state forest inventory (1 January 1998).

 The third file contains the square coordinatesand the corresponding shares of burnt forests within the forest fund, detectedthrough the state forest inventory data.


 Recommendations on Fire Prevention in Forests andRegulations for Work of Forest Fire Services. 1997. Approved by the DeputyLeader of the Federal Forestry Service of Russia. 17.11.1997. Federal ForestService, Moscow. [In Russian]

 Status of the Order for Attributing of theTerritory to Protection Zones and Areas Including Forest Fund Lands of RussianFederation and Territories Beyond the Forest Fund. 1997. Approved by the DeputyLeader of Federal Forestry Service of Russia. 19.09.1997. Federal ForestService, Moscow [In Russian]

The Forest Fund of Russia (Data of the State ForestFund Inventory According to the State by 1.01.1998). 1999. All-Union ScientificResearch Center “Lesresurs”, Moscow, 649 pp. [In Russian]

Korovin G.N., S.A. Bartalev, and A.I. Belyaev. 1998.Integrated system of forest fire monitoring. “Leshoye khozyajstvo” Magazine 4:45-48. [InRussian]


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