Frequent fires may alter the future composition of the boreal forest in northern Mongolia

Takashi Otoda, Takahiro Doi, Keiji Sakamoto, Muneto Hirobe, Baatarbileg Nachin, Ken Yoshikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

To examine the effects of frequent fires on species composition of the boreal forest in northern Mongolia, we investigated regeneration patterns, including reproductive pathways, post-fire seed sources, and site preferences, of four common tree species (Betula platyphylla, Larix sibirica, Picea obovata, and Pinus sibirica). Regeneration patterns differed among B. platyphylla, L. sibirica, and the two evergreen conifers. B. platyphylla regenerated vigorously only after fire irrespective of the presence/absence of nearby seed sources, whereas post-fire regeneration of L. sibirica was more dependent on the presence of nearby seed sources. These two species did not regenerate in mature stands where mature trees of these species were growing. In contrast, no post-fire recruitment of P. obovata and P. sibirica was observed, whereas continuous recruitment of these species was observed in mature stands. The frequent fires that accompany illegal logging may result in larger burned areas and increase the risk of local extinctions of seed sources. The enlargement of burned areas is likely to favor post-fire recruitment of B. platyphylla. Seed dispersal limitation seems to have less effect on B. platyphylla than on the other species because of the wider seed dispersal range and vegetative reproduction capability of this species. Consequently, fires in the northern Mongolian boreal forest likely promote the relative dominance of B. platyphylla and threaten the existence of the evergreen conifers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-255
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Forest Research
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2013

Keywords

  • Age structure
  • Post-fire recruitment
  • Regeneration strategy
  • Succession
  • Taiga forest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry

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