Fosberg, M. 1992. International Boreal Forest Research Association, Stand Replacement Fire Working Group


International Boreal ForestResearch Association,
Stand Replacement Fire Working Group

Fosberg, M. 1992.

Int. Forest Fire News No. 7,  6-8

The “International Boreal Forest Research Association” established a new working group on stand replacement ecology with an emphasis on fire in ecosystems at an Association meeting in Krasnoyarsk Russia on 18-22 May 1992. The working group will foster cooperative research on stand replacement ecoloy with the goal of better understanding boreal ecosystems and assuring sustainable development and exploitation of resources in the taiga. The International Boreal Forest Research Association is composed of forestry research organizations in the United States, Canada, Russian Federation, Norway, Sweden and Finland.

Two documents were developed and signed at this meeting. The first, known as the Protocol, establishes the long term frame of reference for the working group and details eight hypotheses that will guide cooperative research among the participants. The eight hypotheses are related to quantitatively understanding boreal ecosystems, the role of fire in boreal ecosystems, and modeling and predicting boreal forest dynamics. The Protocol will be implemented through mutually agreed annual work plans. A work plan for 1992-1993 was developed and signed in Krasnoyarsk.

Two additional items were agreed upon outside the scope of the Protocol. A fire study tour of the United States and Canada for a small group of Russian scientists will be held during the period. The Stand Replacement Fire Working Group will also co-sponsor a conference entitled “Fire in Ecosystems of Northern Eurasia” to be held in Krasnoyarsk in the summer of 1993.

The Protocol was signed by Dr. Brian Stocks for Canada, Dr. Eric Valendik for Russia, and Dr. Michael Fosberg for the United States. The annual workplan was signed by Stocks for Canada, Valendik for Russia, and Dr. Lewis Ohmann for the United States.

The eight hypotheses specified in the Protocol are:

  1. Large forest fire behavior can be quantitatively related to weather conditions and forest fuel types in boreal forests of North America and Siberia.
  2. Spatial and temporal cycles of large fires in boreal forests of Siberia and North America are similar.
  3. The influence of stand replacement fires on structure and function of Siberian and North American boreal forests are similar.
  4. Ecosystem processes, such as nutrient cycling, soil respiration, and carbon accretion quickly recover to pre-fire rates in fire cycled boreal forests.
  5. Ecosystem responses (nutrient cycling, species composition, biological diversity, vegetative cover, etc.) following stand replacement fire is unchanged by salvage logging.
  6. Many small fire events will substitute for single large fire events in terms of species and ecosystem response effects.
  7. Predict and develop a strategy for an enlarged role for fire management in response to increased fire activity under global climate change, including an increased opportunity to use prescribed fire to advance natural ecosystem response to mitigate the effects of climate change.
  8. Models for forest resources and forest protection can be constructed and applied for conditions in North America and Siberia.

The annual work plan for 1992-1993 contains 7 tasks. Five tasks were agreed upon for hypothesis 1. These include an exchange of data to evaluate seasonal patterns of fire danger and the behavior of large fires, an intercomparison of fire danger rating systems, and an experimental program of fire behavior.

Under hypothesis 3, it was agreed to conduct a field study of post fire recovery in the United States with both Russian and American scientists. Also, the United States and Canada will pursue obtaining a satellite downlink (NOAA AVHRR) image analysis system in Krasnoyarsk for monitoring and understanding forest fires from a global perspective. Resulting data will be shared and available to the scientific community.

Photograph showing (from left to right) Dr. Brian Stocks (Forestry Canada), Dr. Eric Valendik (Russian Academy of Sciences) and Dr. Michael Fosberg (U.S. Forest Service) signing the Protocols for the Stand Replacement Fire Working Group of the International Boreal Forest Research Association.

The International Boreal Forest Research Association was first proposed at a meeting of the International Panalon Boreal Forests in Arkhangelsk, Russia. In June 1991, an organizational meeting was held in the Ukraine between the United States, Canada, and Russia. Member countries are represented by coordinators for priority research areas. Two priority areas were identified at this organizational meeting: Inventory and Monitoring, including classification; and Global Climate Change and Ecosystem Function. Dr. Eldon Ross of the U.S. Forest Service was named Association Coordinator, Dr. Anatoly Shvidenko of Russia was named Coordinator for inventory, monitoring and classification, and Dr. Glen MacDonald of McMaster University, Canada was named Coordinator for global change and ecosystem function. Each member country provides Deputy Country Coordinators to the 2 priority research areas. Recently, Norway, Sweden and Finland have joined the Association. A working party on forest inventory was established at the June 1991 meeting. The Stand Replacement Fire Working Group is the first Working Group established by the Association.


From: Michael Fosberg

USDA Forest Service
Forest Fire and Atmospheric Sciences Research
P.O.Box 96090
USA-Washington, D.C. 20250

M. Fosberg meanwhile has moved to Germany

Dr. Michael A.Fosberg
Executive Director, BAHC Core Project Office
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
P.O.Box 60 12 03
D – 14412 Potsdam

Fax: ++49-331-288-2547
Tel: ++49-331-288-2649



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