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Nature. 2006 Mar 23;440(7083):436-7.

Ecology: human role in Russian wild fires.

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  • 1Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, TP 440, 21020 Ispra, Italy.


Anomalies in temperature and precipitation in northern Russia over the past few years have been viewed as manifestations of anthropogenic climate change, prompting suggestions that this may also account for exceptional forest fires in the region. Here we examine the number of forest-fire events across the boreal Russian Federation for the period 2002 to 2005 in 'intact' forests, where human influence is limited, and in 'non-intact' forests, which have been shaped by human activity. Our results show that there were more fires in years during which the weather was anomalous, but that more than 87% of fires in boreal Russia were started by people.

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