Collaborative Research: Fire, Climate and Forest History in Mongolia

Lead PI: Neil Pederson

Unit Affiliation: Biology and Paleo Environment, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

June 2010 - August 2013
Asia ; East Asia ; Mongolia
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: The project will document and quantify relationships between fire regimes, climate, and human land use across Mongolia for the past four centuries using tree ring data to better understand changing hydroclimate regimes' influence on ecosystems.

OUTCOMES: All field work has been completed. Found that drought and intensive human land use reduces fire activity and that there is no evidence in an increase in fires despite rising temperatures nationwide. Nine journal publications, two one-time publications, and three websites.


National Science Foundation (NSF)




West Virginia University, National University of Mongolia, Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring Research, Inc. 



Saladyga, T.M., A. Hessl, B. Nachin, and N. Pederson. "Privatization, Drought, and Fire Exclusion in the Tuul River Watershed, Mongolia," Ecosystems, v.16, 2013, p. 1139. doi:10.1007/s10021-013-9673-0

Pederson, N., C. Leland, B. Nachin, A. Hessl, A.R. Bell, D. Martin-Benito, T. Saladyga, B. Suran, P.M. Brown, and N.K. Davi. "Three Centuries of Shifting Hydroclimatic Regimes Across the Mongolian Breadbasket," Agricultural and Forest Meteorolog, v.178-179, 2013, p. 10. doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2012.07.003

Poulter, B., N. Pederson, H. Liu, Z. Zhu, R. D'Arrigo, P. Ciais, N. Davi, D. Frank, C. Leland, R. Myneni, S. Piao, and T. Wang. "Recent trends in Inner Asian forest dynamics to temperature and precipitation indicate high sensitivity to climate change," Agricultural & Forest Meteorology, v.178-179, 2013, p. 31. doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2012.12.006

Davi, N., N. Pederson, C. Leland, B. Nachin, B. Suran, and G. Jacoby. "Is eastern Mongolia drying? A long-term perspective of a multi-decadal trend," Water Research Resources, v.49, 2013, p. 151. doi:10.1029/2012WR011834

Hessl, A.. "Pathways for Climate Change Effects on Fire: Models, Data, and Uncertainties," Progress in Physical Geography, 2011, p. 393.

A. Hessl, U. Ariya, P. Brown, O. Byambasuren, T. Green, G. Jacoby, E. Kennedy Sutherland, B. Nachin, R. S. Maxwell, N. Pederson, L. De Grandpre, T. Saladyga, and J. C. Tardif. "Reconstructing Fire History in Central Mongolia from Tree-Ring Data," International Journal of Wildland Fire, v.21, 2011, p. 86.

De Grandpré, L., J. Tardif, A. Hessl, N. Pederson, F. Conciatori, T. Green, O. Byambasuren and B. Nachi. "Climate signals in Pinus siberica, Pinus sylvestris and Larix sibirica tree-ring chronologies from north-central Mongolia: change in climate sensitivity," Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 2011, p. 1242.


land use climate change ecosystems paleoclimate drought hydroclimate ocean and climate physics fire tree rings


Modeling and Adapting to Future Climate