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Trees as a Legacy of Forest Fires in Scots-Pine-Dominated Stands: Case Study in Latvia †

Latvian State Forest Research Institute Silava, LV-2169 Salaspils, Latvia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Presented at the Third International Conference on Fire Behavior and Risk, Sardinia, Italy, 3–6 May 2022.
Environ. Sci. Proc. 2022, 17(1), 20;
Published: 8 August 2022
(This article belongs to the Proceedings of The Third International Conference on Fire Behavior and Risk)


A large proportion of the forest stands in the hemiboreal zone of Europe are managed for timber production using clear-cutting systems. Stands usually are even-aged, monodominant, or two-layered stands with Norway spruce in undergrowth. There is limited information on the mortality pattern/survival of trees after wildfire in these novel ecosystems. A vast majority of forest fires (e.g., 1000 wildfires per year in Latvia on average) are human-induced. Fires are usually not stand-replacing fires, but there is scarce information about the growth of surviving trees after fires. Therefore, the aim of our study was to assess the factors affecting the probability of survival and increment of fire-damaged trees. We established sample plots in the 27 stands as soon as possible after wildfires which occurred during 2004, 2006, and 2008, and measured the diameters and heights of the trees as well as the damage level (scorching of the stem, damage to the foliage, and burning of major roots). For survival analysis, the trees were assessed twice a year for upto 4 years. Additional diameter increments of 607 surviving pines were assessed 5 years after the fire using trees in the stands of similar age and forest type as a control. The results revealed that the probability of survival was positively correlated with tree diameter and negatively correlated with stem-scorching height and the proportion of uncovered root systems. In cases of low fire severity, trees can even increase their diameter increment; however, with increasing fire severity, increment becomes negative, i.e., undisturbed trees generate more stem volume than trees affected by fire.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, J.D. and A.J.; methodology, J.D., L.Z. and G.Š.; formal analysis, J.D., G.Š., A.T. and L.Z.; data curation, A.T., L.Z. and G.Š.; writing—original draft preparation, J.D., M.K.; writing—review and editing, J.D., A.J., L.Z. and A.T.; project administration, J.D. and A.J.; funding acquisition, J.D. and A.J. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


LSC LVM project “Development of a methodology for assessing the impact of forest fire on the viability of trees”, LSC LVM project “Effect of climate change on forestry and associated risks.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Data Availability Statement

Not applicable.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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MDPI and ACS Style

Donis, J.; Zdors, L.; Šņepsts, G.; Treimane, A.; Kitenberga, M.; Jansons, A. Trees as a Legacy of Forest Fires in Scots-Pine-Dominated Stands: Case Study in Latvia. Environ. Sci. Proc. 2022, 17, 20.

AMA Style

Donis J, Zdors L, Šņepsts G, Treimane A, Kitenberga M, Jansons A. Trees as a Legacy of Forest Fires in Scots-Pine-Dominated Stands: Case Study in Latvia. Environmental Sciences Proceedings. 2022; 17(1):20.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Donis, Jānis, Leonīds Zdors, Guntars Šņepsts, Agita Treimane, Māra Kitenberga, and Aris Jansons. 2022. "Trees as a Legacy of Forest Fires in Scots-Pine-Dominated Stands: Case Study in Latvia" Environmental Sciences Proceedings 17, no. 1: 20.

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