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Reintroduction of burning in Boreal western taiga woodlands (LifeTaiga)
Start date: Jan 1, 2015, End date: Dec 31, 2019 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background Controlled burning can support the conservation of many sites of priority habitat type 9010 (*Western Taïga) and, to some extent, habitat 9060 (Coniferous forests on, or connected to, glaciofluvial eskers) Up until 150 years ago, 1% of the wooded area burned annually. Today less than 0.016% burns annually. The reduction in the frequency of fires is one of the major ecological changes that have taken place in woodlands since the 1800s. Over time, fires have led to the development of pyrophilic organisms. We know today that some 40 insects and some 50 fungi species are dependent on burned wood and burned ground for their survival. Hundreds of other species, such as flies, bees and crabronids, also benefit from fires. Many of the organisms dependent on fire are rare and are on the Swedish Red List, and some of them are listed in the Habitats and the Birds Directives. If these fire-dependent habitats and species are to survive, then the number of controlled fires in the wooded landscape must increase. Objectives The main objectives of LifeTaiga project include: transforming a significant proportion western taiga (9010) in Sweden from unfavourable to favourable conservation status; developing suitable methods for controlled burning, as well as training and encouraging authorities, companies, organisations and contractors associated with controlled burning; promoting a dialogue and delivering good quality, easy-to-understand information to landowners, local residents, visitors and the general public on the issue of controlled burning; and developing mutual collaboration with Finland in relation to the management of the target habitat. Expected results: 120 controlled burning events on a total area of 2060 ha in 89 different Natura 2000 sites; Fencing, creation of bare soil, and targeted actions on 18 of these Natura 2000 sites; Large areas (more than 30 ha) burned at eight sites, intermediate sized areas burned (10-30 ha) in 65 projects sites, and smaller areas (in general less than 10 ha) burned at 16 sites; Production of a database, which will be used to refine methods of controlled burning; Development of information trails to highlight the ecology of controlled burning in specific Natura 2000 sites; and Implementation of awareness raising measures that facilitate the exchange of ideas among organisations and contractors, as well as reach new target groups via a mobile app, QR-coded information signs and an interactive website.
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