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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 13 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 13 Aug 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Fire risk modulation by long-term dynamics in land cover and dominant forest type in Eastern and Central Europe

Angelica Feurdean1,2,3, Boris Vannière4, Walter Finsinger5, Dan Warren1, Simon C. Connor4, Matthew Forrest1, Johan Liakka6, Andrei Panait3, Christian Werner1,7, Maja Andrič8, Premysl Bobek9, Vachel A. Carter10, Basil Davis11, Andrei-Cosmin Diaconu3, Elisabeth Dietze12,13, Ingo Feeser14, Gabriela Florescu3,10, Mariusz Gałka15,16, Thomas Giesecke17, Susanne Jahns18, Eva Jamrichová9, Katarzyna Kajukało15, Jed Kaplan19, Monika Karpińska-Kołaczek15, Piotr Kołaczek15, Petr Kuneš10, Dimitry Kupriyanov20, Mariusz Lamentowicz15, Carsten Lemmen21, Enikö K. Magyari22, Katarzyna Marcisz15, Elena Marinova23, Aidin Niamir1, Elena Novenko20, Milena Obremska24, Anna Pędziszewska25, Mirjam Pfeiffer1, Anneli Poska26,27, Manfred Rösch28, Michal Słowiński29, Miglė Stančikaitė30, Marta Szal31, Joanna Święta-Musznicka25, Ioan Tanţău3, Martin Theuerkauf32, Spassimir Tonkov33, Orsolya Valkó34, Juri Vassiljev26, Siim Veski26, Ildiko Vincze22, Agnieszka Wacnik35, Julian Wiethold36, and Thomas Hickler1 Angelica Feurdean et al.
  • 1Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Senckenberganlage, 25, 60325, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • 2Department of Physical Geography, Goethe University, Altenhöferallee 1, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • 3Department of Geology, Babeş-Bolyai University, Kogălniceanu 1, 400084, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
  • 4CNRS Chrono-environnement UMR 6249 and MSHE USR 3124, Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté, F-25000 Besançon, France
  • 5Palaeoecology, ISEM, Univ Montpellier, CNRS, EPHE, IRD, 34095 Montpellier, France
  • 6Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Thormøhlensgate 47, Bergen 5006, Norway
  • 7Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute of Meteorology and ClimateResearch Kreuzeckbahnstr. 19, D-82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen
  • 8ZRC SAZU, Institute of Archaeology, Novitrg 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 9Laboratory of Paleoecology, Institute of Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Lidická 25/27, CZ-602 00 Brno, Czech Republic
  • 10Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Benatska 2, CZ-128 01 Prague, Czech Republic
  • 11Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, CH-1015, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 12GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section 3.2 Organic Geochemistry, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
  • 13Alfred-Wegener-Institute Helmholtz-Centre for Polar and Marine Research Potsdam, Polar Terrestrial Environmental Systems Group, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
  • 14Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology, University of Kiel, Johanna-Mestorf-Straße 2–6, R.138, Germany
  • 15Department of Biogeography and Palaeoecology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Krygowskiego 10, 61-680 Poznań, Poland
  • 16Department of Geobotany and Plant Ecology, Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection, University of Lodz, Banacha 12/16, Lodz, Poland
  • 17Department of Palynology and Climate Dynamics, Albrecht-von-Haller-Institute for Plant Sciences, University of Göttingen, Untere Karspüle 2, 37073, Germany
  • 18Heritage Management and Archaeological Museum of the State of Brandenburg, Wünsdorfer Platz 4–5, 15806 Zossen, Germany
  • 19Institute of Geography, Augsburg University, Alter Postweg 118, 86159, Augsburg, Germany
  • 20Faculty of Geography, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie gory 1, 119991, Moscow, Russia
  • 21Science Consult, 21339 Lüneburg; Institut of Coastal Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, 21502 Geesthacht, Germany
  • 22Department of Environmental and Landscape Geography, Research group of Paleontology, Eötvös Loránd University, H-1117, Budapest, Pázmány Péter stny. 1/C, Hungary
  • 23State Office for Cultural Heritage Baden-Württemberg Referat 84.1/Laboratory for Archaeobotany, Fischersteig 9, 78343 Geienhofen-Hemmenhofen, Germany
  • 24Institute of Geological Sciences, Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51/55, PL-00-818, Warsaw, Poland
  • 25Laboratory of Palaeoecology and Archaeobotany, Department of Plant Ecology, Faculty of Biology, University of Gdańsk, ul. Wita Stwosza 59, 80-308 Gdańsk, Poland
  • 26Institute of Geology, Tallinn University of Technology, Ehitajate tee 5, 19086 Tallinn, Estonia
  • 27Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystems Science, Lund University, Sölvegatan 12, S-22362 Lund, Sweden
  • 28Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Vorderasiatische Archäologie, Sandgasse 7, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany
  • 29Department of Environmental Resources and Geohazards, Institute of Geography and Spatial Organisation, Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51/55, 00-818 Warsaw, Poland
  • 30Nature Research Centre, Institute of Geology and Geography, Akademijos Str. 2, Vilnius 08412, Lithuania
  • 31Department of Paleobotany, Institute of Biology, University of Białystok, Ciołkowskiego 1J, 15-245 Bialystok, Poland
  • 32Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology, University of Greifswald, Soldmannstraße 15, D-17489 Greifswald
  • 33Laboratory of Palynology, Faculty of Biology, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, Dragan Tsankov 8, 1164, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • 34MTA-DE Lendület Seed Ecology Research Group, Egyetem sqr 1, Debrecen, H-4032 Hungary
  • 35W. Szafer Institute of Botany, Polish Academy of Sciences, Lubicz 46, 31-512 Kraków, Poland
  • 36Institut national de recherches archéologiques preventives (Inrap), Direction Grand Est, Laboratoire archéobotaniques, 12, rue de Méric, F-57063 Metz CEDEX 2, France

Abstract. Wildfire occurrence is influenced by climate, vegetation and human activities. A key challenge for understanding fire-climate-vegetation interactions is to quantify the effect vegetation has in mediating fire regime. Here, we explore the relative importance of Holocene land cover and dominant functional forest type, and climate dynamics on biomass burned in temperate and boreo-nemoral regions of Central and Eastern Europe over the past 12 ka BP years. We used an extensive data set of Holocene pollen and sedimentary charcoal records, in combination with climate simulations and novel statistical modelling. Biomass burned was highest during the early Holocene and lowest during the mid Holocene in all three ecoregions, but diverged more markedly over the past 3–4 ka BP. Although the climate was an important driver of fire hazard during the warm and dry early Holocene, tree cover was consistently the strongest predictor of past biomass burning. In temperate forests, biomass burned was high at ~ 45 % tree cover and decreased strongly towards 60 % tree cover. In needleleaf dominated forests, biomass burned was highest at ~ 60–65 % tree cover and abruptly declined at > 65 % tree cover. Biomass burned also increased when arable lands and grasslands reached ~ 15–20 %, although this relationship was highly dynamic depending on land use intensity throughout ignition and fuel type and availability. Our observations cover the full range of Holocene climate variability and land cover changes and illustrates that percentages of land cover is a key predictor of the probability of fire occurrence over timescales of centuries to millennia. We suggest that long-term fire risk may be effectively reduced through land cover management, given that land cover has controlled fire regimes under the dynamic climates of the Holocene.

Angelica Feurdean et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Angelica Feurdean et al.
Angelica Feurdean et al.
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Short summary
Our study covers the full Holocene (the past 11 500 years) climate variability and vegetation composition, and provides a test on how vegetation and climate interact to determine fire risk. An important implication of this test is that percentage of tree cover can be used as a predictor of the probability of fire occurrence. In temperate forests, biomass burned is highest at 45 % tree cover, and in needleleaf dominated forests at ~ 60–65 % tree cover.
Our study covers the full Holocene (the past 11 500 years) climate variability and vegetation...