Defining fire environment zones in the boreal forests of northeastern China

Zhiwei Wu, Hong S. He, Jian Yang, Yu Liang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Fire activity in boreal forests will substantially increase with prolonged growing seasons under a warming climate. This trend poses challenges to managing fires in boreal forest landscapes. A fire environment zone map offers a basis for evaluating these fire-related problems and designing more effective fire management plans to improve the allocation of management resources across a landscape. Toward that goal, we identified three fire environment zones across boreal forest landscapes in northeastern China using analytical methods to identify spatial clustering of the environmental variables of climate, vegetation, topography, and human activity. The three fire environment zones were found to be in strong agreement with the spatial distributions of the historical fire data (occurrence, size, and frequency) for 1966-2005. This paper discusses how the resulting fire environment zone map can be used to guide forest fire management and fire regime prediction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-116
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Jun 5 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31200362 and 41371199 ) and the 973 project of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Grant No. 2011CB403200 ). We thank Paul Johnson and Janice Faaborg for English language editing. The constructive comments of two anonymous reviewers greatly improved the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V.


  • Boreal forest
  • Environmental variables
  • Fire management
  • Fire regime
  • Spatial clustering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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