EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The two towers: CO2 fluxes after wildfire in managed Swedish boreal forest stands

Julia Kelly1, Stefan H. Doerr2, Claudio D'Onofrio3, Thomas Holst3, Irene Lehner1, Anders Lindroth3, Cristina Santín4,5, Margarida Soares6, and Natascha Kljun1
Julia Kelly et al.
  • 1Centre for Environmental and Climate Science, Lund University, Lund, Sweden (
  • 2Department of Geography, Swansea University, Swansea, UK
  • 3Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  • 4Biodiversity Research Institute, Spanish National Research Council-University of Oviedo-Principality of Asturias, Mieres, Spain
  • 5Department of Biosciences, Swansea University, Swansea, UK
  • 6Department of Biology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Wildfires have been effectively suppressed in the managed boreal forests of Fennoscandia for over a century. However, recent extremely hot and dry summers have highlighted the vulnerability of these forests to increasing wildfire frequency as a result of climate change. The carbon stored by managed forests plays a key role in many national climate mitigation strategies and more data is needed to assess how forest management shapes the carbon balance of these forests, including those recovering from wildfire. We established two eddy covariance towers in the area burnt by the Ljusdal fire, which affected over 9000 ha during the extreme 2018 wildfire season in Sweden. The two towers measured CO2 fluxes during the first four growing seasons after the fire at two Pinus sylvestris stands with contrasting fire impacts and forest management schemes. At one site, a mature stand had survived low severity fire but was then salvage-logged and reseeded (6 months after the fire), whilst the other site represented a young stand that was killed by high severity fire and replanted with Pinus sylvestris seedlings (2 years after the fire). After the fire, both sites were net CO2 sources at the annual scale. However, the site with dead young trees and replanted seedlings showed a faster recovery towards becoming a CO2 sink, with days of net CO2 uptake during the peak of the growing season three years after the fire. Preliminary results suggest that similar magnitudes of carbon were emitted as CO2 in the first 4 years after the fire compared to the carbon emitted during the fire itself, underlining the importance of monitoring forest CO2 fluxes and the impacts of management decisions during the initial post-fire years.

How to cite: Kelly, J., H. Doerr, S., D'Onofrio, C., Holst, T., Lehner, I., Lindroth, A., Santín, C., Soares, M., and Kljun, N.: The two towers: CO2 fluxes after wildfire in managed Swedish boreal forest stands, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-12028,, 2023.