ISSN 10674136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2010, Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 1–6. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2010.
Original Russian Text © S.N. Sannikov, A.I. Zakharov, L.G. Smol’nikova, N.S. Sannikova, 2010, published in Ekologiya, 2010, No. 1, pp. 3–8.
Since the Late Devonian, innumerable lightning
fires have occurred every year in areas with different
vegetation types (Komarek, 1967, 1973; Cope and
Challoner, 1980). Being a consequence of global inter
actions in the atmosphere–biosphere system, such
fires are an attribute of the Earth’s environment and an
eternal evolutionary and ecological factor (Taylor,
1974; Sannikov, 1981, 1991, 1992; Agee, 1993).
In pine forests of the taiga zone of northern Eur
asia, lightning fires occur regularly (with aperiodic
cyclicity), at intervals of 60–65 years, causing pro
found transformation of environmental conditions
and ecosystem components (Sannikov and Goldam
mer, 1996). In northern and middle taiga forests
of Western Siberia, about 37% of all fires (on average,
147 incidents per year) result from thunderstorms.
In some years, up to 5100 lightning fires take place in
Russian forests, with the total burnedout area
reaching 890000 ha (Korovin and Zukert, 2003).
In prehistoric times, uncontrolled lightning fires
spread over vast areas commensurate to entire land
In many regions of the Earth, the territorial distri
bution of lightning fire incidents in forests has a patch
work pattern (Komarek, 1967, 1968; Schroeder and
Buck, 1970; Zakharov and Stolyarchuk, 1977;
Granstrom, 1993; Sannikov and Goldammer, 1996;
Korovin and Zukert, 2003; Ivanov, 2006). However,
meteorological, landscape, foresttypological, and
geophysical factors accounting for this situation have
not been studied sufficiently.
The results of previous studies on natural pine for
ests exposed to lightning fires in the Konda River
basin, which were performed at the Tyumen Experi
mental Forest Station (TEFS) of the Leningrad
Research Institute of Forestry (LenNIILKh) (1971–
1974), allowed us to formulate and partially confirm
the hypothesis that the frequency and density of light
ning fires depends on anomalies of the Earth’s mag
netic field (Novgorodov et al., 1982). Ivanov (1991,
2006) corroborated and developed our hypothesis on
the model of Central Siberian forests. This study was
aimed at analysis and theoretical generalization of
OBJECTS AND METHODS
As the study object, we selected natural pine forests
growing on numerous sandy islands amid vast, impass
able bogs on the leftbank terraces of the Konda River
valley. With rare exceptions, these forests are not vis
ited by people in the firehazard period and suffer only
from fires caused by lightning. Dry pine forests of the
lichen type group (Pineta cladinosa) are almost abso
lutely dominant on the islands.
The total area of the forest–bog landscape in the
study region—the Lugovskoe operations section of
the Tyumen Airborne Forest Fire Control Base—
ha. On its schematic map (scale
Forest Fires Caused by Lightning As an Indicator of Connections
between Atmosphere, Lithosphere, and Biosphere
S. N. Sannikov
, A. I. Zakharov
, L. G. Smol’nikova
, and N. S. Sannikova
Botanical Garden, Ural Division, Russian Academy of Sciences,
ul. Vos’mogo Marta 202, Yekaterinburg, 620144 Russia;
Tyumen Branch, AllRussia Research Institute of Forestry and Forest Mechanization,
ul. Mekhanizatorov 5a, Tyumen, 625017 Russia
Received July 21, 2008
—A significant positive correlation between the density of lightning fires and the horizontal gradient
of anomalous geomagnetic field is demonstrated on the basis of studies on lichen pine forests in the Konda
River basin (Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Area, Western Siberia) and analysis of published data. Schematic
hypotheses of global connections in the atmosphere–lithosphere–forest–lightning fire are proposed.
: atmosphere, lithosphere, forest, Earth’s magnetic field, geomagnetic anomaly, thunderstorm, for
est fire, pyrogenic succession.