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Fire, Volume 1, Issue 3 (December 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Typical Cerrado landscape, with a mosaic of different physiognomies: open savannas, wet grasslands, [...] Read more.
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Open AccessPerspective Wildland Fire Science Literacy: Education, Creation, and Application
Received: 17 October 2018 / Revised: 2 December 2018 / Accepted: 17 December 2018 / Published: 19 December 2018
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Abstract
Wildland fire science literacy is the capacity for wildland fire professionals to understand and communicate three aspects of wildland fire: (1) the fundamentals of fuels and fire behavior, (2) the concept of fire as an ecological regime, and (3) multiple human dimensions of [...] Read more.
Wildland fire science literacy is the capacity for wildland fire professionals to understand and communicate three aspects of wildland fire: (1) the fundamentals of fuels and fire behavior, (2) the concept of fire as an ecological regime, and (3) multiple human dimensions of wildland fire and the socio-ecological elements of fire regimes. Critical to wildland fire science literacy is a robust body of research on wildland fire. Here, we describe how practitioners, researchers, and other professionals can study, create, and apply robust wildland fire science. We begin with learning and suggest that the conventional fire ecology canon include detail on fire fundamentals and human dimensions. Beyond the classroom, creating robust fire science can be enhanced by designing experiments that test environmental gradients and report standard data on fuels and fire behavior, or at least use the latter to inform models estimating the former. Finally, wildland fire science literacy comes full circle with the application of robust fire science as professionals in both the field and in the office communicate with a common understanding of fundamental concepts of fire behavior and fire regime. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Contemporary Fire Regimes of the Arid Carnarvon Basin Region of Western Australia
Received: 8 November 2018 / Revised: 10 December 2018 / Accepted: 11 December 2018 / Published: 14 December 2018
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Abstract
This study investigates the fire regime for the arid Carnarvon Basin region of Western Australia using remotely sensed imagery. A fire history database was constructed from satellite images to characterise the general fire regime and determine any effect of vegetation types and pre-fire [...] Read more.
This study investigates the fire regime for the arid Carnarvon Basin region of Western Australia using remotely sensed imagery. A fire history database was constructed from satellite images to characterise the general fire regime and determine any effect of vegetation types and pre-fire weather and climate. The study area was divided into two sections (northern and southern) due to their inherently different vegetation and climate. A total of 23.8% (15,646 km2) of the study area was burnt during the 39-year study period. Heathland vegetation (54%) burnt the most extensively in the southern study area, and hummock grasslands (68%) in the northern. A single, unusually large fire in 2012 followed exceptional rains in the previous 12 months and accounted for 55% of the total burnt area. This fire burnt mainly through Acacia shrublands and woodlands rather than hummock grasslands, as normally experienced in the northern study area. Antecedent rainfall and fire weather were found to be the main meteorological factors driving fire size. Both study areas showed a moderate to strong correlation between fire size and increased pre-fire rainfall in the year preceding the fire. Predicted future changes in climate may lead to more frequent and higher intensity fires. Full article
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Open AccessData Descriptor Extensible Database of Validated Biomass Smoke Events for Health Research
Received: 2 November 2018 / Revised: 2 December 2018 / Accepted: 3 December 2018 / Published: 6 December 2018
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Abstract
The extensible Biomass Smoke Validated Events Database is an ongoing, community driven, collection of air pollution events which are known to be caused by vegetation fires such as bushfires (also known as wildfire and wildland fires), or prescribed fuel reduction burns, and wood [...] Read more.
The extensible Biomass Smoke Validated Events Database is an ongoing, community driven, collection of air pollution events which are known to be caused by vegetation fires such as bushfires (also known as wildfire and wildland fires), or prescribed fuel reduction burns, and wood heaters. This is useful for researchers of health impacts who need to distinguish smoke from vegetation versus other sources. The overarching aim is to study statistical associations between biomass smoke pollution and health. Extreme pollution events may also be caused by dust storms or fossil fuel smog events and so validation is necessary to ensure the events being studied are from biomass. This database can be extended by contribution from other researchers outside the original team. There are several available protocols for adding validated smoke events to the database, to ensure standardization across datasets. Air pollution data can be included, and free software was created for identification of extreme values. Protocols are described for reference material needed as supporting evidence for event days. The utility of this database has previously been demonstrated in analyses of hospitalization and mortality. The database was created using open source software that works across operating systems. The prospect for future extensions to the database is enhanced by the description in this paper, and the availability of these data on the open access Github repository enables easy addition to the database with new data by the research community. Full article
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Open AccessCase Report The Year 2017: Megafires and Management in the Cerrado
Received: 19 October 2018 / Revised: 29 November 2018 / Accepted: 1 December 2018 / Published: 5 December 2018
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Abstract
The year 2017 was a megafire year, when huge areas burned on different continents. In Brazil, a great extension of the Cerrado burned, raising once more the discussion about the “zero-fire” policy. Indeed, most protected areas of the Cerrado adopted a policy of [...] Read more.
The year 2017 was a megafire year, when huge areas burned on different continents. In Brazil, a great extension of the Cerrado burned, raising once more the discussion about the “zero-fire” policy. Indeed, most protected areas of the Cerrado adopted a policy of fire exclusion and prevention, leading to periodic megafire events. Last year, 78% of the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park burned at the end of the dry season, attracting media attention. Furthermore, 85% of the Reserva Natural Serra do Tombador burned as a result of a large accumulation of fuel caused by the zero-fire policy. In 2014, some protected areas started to implement the Integrate Fire Management (IFM) strategy. During 2017, in contrast to other protected areas, the Estação Ecológica Serra Geral do Tocantins experienced no megafire events, suggesting that a few years of IFM implementation led to changes in its fire regime. Therefore, we intended here to compare the total burned area and number of fire scars between the protected areas where IFM was implemented and those where fire exclusion is the adopted policy. The use of fire as a management tool aimed at wildfire prevention and biodiversity preservation should be reconsidered by local managers and environmental authorities for most Cerrado protected areas, especially those where open savanna physiognomies prevail. Changing the paradigm is a hard task, but last year’s events showed the zero-fire policy would bring more damage than benefits to Cerrado protected areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Body Composition Changes of United States Smokejumpers during the 2017 Fire Season
Received: 25 September 2018 / Revised: 19 November 2018 / Accepted: 27 November 2018 / Published: 1 December 2018
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Abstract
Wildland firefighting is arduous work with extreme physical and nutritional demands that often exceeds those of athletes competing in sports. The intensity and duration of job demands, impacts the amount of calories burned, which can influence body composition. The purpose of this study [...] Read more.
Wildland firefighting is arduous work with extreme physical and nutritional demands that often exceeds those of athletes competing in sports. The intensity and duration of job demands, impacts the amount of calories burned, which can influence body composition. The purpose of this study was to determine if the body composition of nine wildland firefighters working as smokejumpers changed throughout the 2017 fire season. Subjects (n = 9) for the study ranged in age from 24–49 (age 30.1 ± 8.3 y). Height (177 ± 18.8 cm) and weight (81.32 ± 6.39 kg) was recorded during initial body composition testing and body fat percentage was determined pre and post-season using Lange skinfold calipers. Outcomes were evaluated using a paired t-test. Body fat percentage was significantly different between pre and post-season (average body fat percentage increase = 1.31%; t = 2.31, p = 0.04, alpha = 0.05). Body weight increased slightly from pre to post-season (average increase in body weight: 0.17 kg), although the differences were not significant (t = 2.31, p = 0.78). Change in body fat percentage without change in body weight suggest that monitoring of WLFF body composition and fitness may be needed help inform dietary and fitness interventions to insure that nutritional demands of this population are sufficient to support physical work on the fireline. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Winds and Gusts during the Thomas Fire
Received: 22 October 2018 / Revised: 24 November 2018 / Accepted: 26 November 2018 / Published: 30 November 2018
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Abstract
We analyze observed and simulated winds and gusts occurring before, during, and immediately after the ignition of the Thomas fire of December 2017. This fire started in Ventura county during a record-long Santa Ana wind event from two closely located but independent ignitions [...] Read more.
We analyze observed and simulated winds and gusts occurring before, during, and immediately after the ignition of the Thomas fire of December 2017. This fire started in Ventura county during a record-long Santa Ana wind event from two closely located but independent ignitions and grew to become (briefly) the largest by area burned in modern California history. Observations placed wind gusts as high as 35 m/s within 40 km of the ignition sites, but stations much closer to them reported much lower speeds. Our analysis of these records indicate these low wind reports (especially from cooperative “CWOP” stations) are neither reliable nor representative of conditions at the fire origin sites. Model simulations verified against available better quality observations indicate downslope wind conditions existed that placed the fastest winds on the lee slope locations where the fires are suspected to have started. A crude gust estimate suggests winds as fast as 32 m/s occurred at the time of the first fire origin, with higher speeds attained later. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Impacts of Wildfire Characteristics and Employment on the Adaptive Management Strategies in the Intermountain West
Received: 24 August 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 25 November 2018 / Published: 30 November 2018
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Abstract
Widespread development and shifts from rural to urban areas within the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) has increased fire risks to local populations, as well as introduced complex and long-term costs and benefits to communities. We use an interdisciplinary approach to investigate how trends in [...] Read more.
Widespread development and shifts from rural to urban areas within the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) has increased fire risks to local populations, as well as introduced complex and long-term costs and benefits to communities. We use an interdisciplinary approach to investigate how trends in fire characteristics influence adaptive management and economies in the Intermountain Western US (IMW). Specifically, we analyze area burned and fire frequency in the IMW over time, how fires in urban or rural settings influence local economies and whether fire trends and economic impacts influence managers’ perspectives and adaptive decision-making. Our analyses showed some increasing fire trends at multiple levels. Using a non-parametric event study model, we evaluated the effects of fire events in rural and urban areas on county-level private industry employment, finding short- and long-term positive effects of fire on employment at several scales and some short-term negative effects for specific sectors. Through interviewing 20 fire managers, we found that most recognize increasing fire trends and that there are both positive and negative economic effects of fire. We also established that many of the participants are implementing adaptive fire management strategies and we identified key challenges to mitigating increasing fire risk in the IMW. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial Recognizing Women Leaders in Fire Science: Revisited
Received: 13 November 2018 / Accepted: 14 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
In August, 2018, an editorial in Fire entitled Recognizing Women Leaders in Fire Science was published. This was intended to ignite a conversation into diversity in fire science by highlighting several women leaders in fire research and development. This editorial was released alongside [...] Read more.
In August, 2018, an editorial in Fire entitled Recognizing Women Leaders in Fire Science was published. This was intended to ignite a conversation into diversity in fire science by highlighting several women leaders in fire research and development. This editorial was released alongside a new Topical Collection in Fire called Diversity Leaders in Fire Science. The response on social media was fantastic, leading to numerous recommendations of women leaders in fire science that had been inadvertently missed in the first editorial. In this editorial, we acknowledge 145 women leaders in fire science to promote diversity across our disciplines. Fire is continually committed to improving diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the journal and welcomes perspectives, viewpoints, and constructive criticisms to help advance that mission. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Diversity Leaders in Fire Science)
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Open AccessCommunication Wildfire Impact and the “Fire Paradox” in a Natural and Endemic Pine Forest Stand and Shrubland
Received: 28 August 2018 / Revised: 16 October 2018 / Accepted: 9 November 2018 / Published: 13 November 2018
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Abstract
Fire is a powerful force that has shaped forests for thousands of years. It also provokes widespread social concern due to possible economic damage, social effects, impact on homes and properties, and other social effects including fatalities. Regions with seasonal variations in aridity [...] Read more.
Fire is a powerful force that has shaped forests for thousands of years. It also provokes widespread social concern due to possible economic damage, social effects, impact on homes and properties, and other social effects including fatalities. Regions with seasonal variations in aridity have a fire regime dependent on climate resulting from the role of precipitation and temperature in fire occurrence, implying a synchrony of fire occurrence at regional scale. This spatial and temporal variation of fire regimes regulates the structure, diversity, regeneration dynamics, and nutrient cycle of an area. In the Canary Islands, fires are recurrent in pine forests, although their occurrence in the same area more than once within a 20-year period is rare. The main aim of this work is to reveal, over a 50-year period, fire occurrence and impact on the Canary Islands and how the islands are immersed in a “fire paradox”—a process typical of protected areas, where fire suppression becomes one of the main aims of forest management. Full article
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Open AccessPerspective Live Fuel Moisture Content: The ‘Pea Under the Mattress’ of Fire Spread Rate Modeling?
Received: 9 September 2018 / Revised: 6 November 2018 / Accepted: 10 November 2018 / Published: 12 November 2018
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Abstract
Currently, there is a dispute on whether live fuel moisture content (FMC) should be accounted for when predicting a real-world fire-spread rate (RoS). The laboratory and field data results are conflicting: laboratory trials show a significant effect of live FMC on RoS, which [...] Read more.
Currently, there is a dispute on whether live fuel moisture content (FMC) should be accounted for when predicting a real-world fire-spread rate (RoS). The laboratory and field data results are conflicting: laboratory trials show a significant effect of live FMC on RoS, which has not been convincingly detected in the field. It has been suggested that the lack of influence of live FMC on RoS might arise from differences in the ignition of dead and live fuels: flammability trials using live leaves subjected to high heat fluxes (80–140 kW m−2) show that ignition occurs before all of the moisture is vaporized. We analyze evidence from recent studies, and hypothesize that differences in the ignition mechanisms between dead and live fuels do not preclude the use of overall fine FMC for attaining acceptable RoS predictions. We refer to a simple theory that consists of two connected hypotheses to explain why the effect of live FMC on field fires RoS has remained elusive so far: H1, live tree foliage FMC remains fairly constant over the year; and H2, the seasonal variation of live shrubs’ FMC correlates with the average dead FMC. As a result, the effect of live FMC is not easily detected by statistical analysis. Full article
Open AccessPerspective Increasing Editorial Diversity: Strategies for Structural Change
Received: 27 September 2018 / Revised: 6 November 2018 / Accepted: 8 November 2018 / Published: 8 November 2018
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Abstract
Editorial boards should be representative of the people doing science but they are often plagued with inequality. This article presents some starting points towards increasing editorial diversity, hoping to spark new initiatives to recruit people of under-represented groups to editorial boards. I argue [...] Read more.
Editorial boards should be representative of the people doing science but they are often plagued with inequality. This article presents some starting points towards increasing editorial diversity, hoping to spark new initiatives to recruit people of under-represented groups to editorial boards. I argue there should be a greater focus on what journals and publishers should do instead of focusing on stories and celebrations of extraordinary individuals overcoming barriers. Transparent reporting, diversity targets, strategic invitations, mentoring programs, self-assigned workloads are all strategies which might lead to structural change. New, creative ways to recruit editors are needed so that women and all under-represented groups are given more opportunities to shape the direction of science. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Diversity Leaders in Fire Science)
Open AccessArticle A Global Analysis of Hunter-Gatherers, Broadcast Fire Use, and Lightning-Fire-Prone Landscapes
Received: 3 September 2018 / Revised: 19 October 2018 / Accepted: 24 October 2018 / Published: 25 October 2018
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Abstract
We examined the relationships between lightning-fire-prone environments, socioeconomic metrics, and documented use of broadcast fire by small-scale hunter-gatherer societies. Our approach seeks to re-assess human-fire dynamics in biomes that are susceptible to lightning-triggered fires. We quantify global lightning-fire-prone environments using mean monthly lightning [...] Read more.
We examined the relationships between lightning-fire-prone environments, socioeconomic metrics, and documented use of broadcast fire by small-scale hunter-gatherer societies. Our approach seeks to re-assess human-fire dynamics in biomes that are susceptible to lightning-triggered fires. We quantify global lightning-fire-prone environments using mean monthly lightning and climatological flammability, and then compare how well those environments and socioeconomic variables (population density, mobility, and subsistence type) serve as predictors of observed broadcast fire use from the ethnographic data. We use a logistic model for all vegetated, forested, and unforested biomes. Our global analysis of human-fire-landscape interaction in three hundred and thirty-nine hunter-gatherer groups demonstrates that lightning-fire-prone environments strongly predict for hunter-gatherer fire use. While we do not maintain that lightning-fire-prone environments determine the use of fire by small societies, they certainly appear to invite its use. Our results further suggest that discounting or ignoring human agency contradicts empirical evidence that hunter-gatherers used fire even in locations where lightning could explain the presence of fire. Paleoecological research on fire and hypothesis testing using global fire modeling should consider insights from human ecology in the interpretation of data and results. More broadly, our results suggest that small-scale societies can provide insight into sustainable fire management in lightning-fire-prone landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land-Use and Fire around the World from the Past to the Present)
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Open AccessArticle Geographic Patterns of Fire Severity Following an Extreme Eucalyptus Forest Fire in Southern Australia: 2013 Forcett-Dunalley Fire
Received: 19 July 2018 / Revised: 3 October 2018 / Accepted: 20 October 2018 / Published: 22 October 2018
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Abstract
Fire severity is an important characteristic of fire regimes; however, global assessments of fire regimes typically focus more on fire frequency and burnt area. Our objective in this case study is to use multiple lines of evidence to understand fire severity and intensity [...] Read more.
Fire severity is an important characteristic of fire regimes; however, global assessments of fire regimes typically focus more on fire frequency and burnt area. Our objective in this case study is to use multiple lines of evidence to understand fire severity and intensity patterns and their environmental correlates in the extreme 2013 Forcett-Dunalley fire in southeast Tasmania, Australia. We use maximum likelihood classification of aerial photography, and fire behavior equations, to report on fire severity and intensity patterns, and compare the performance of multiple thresholds of the normalised burn ratio (dNBR) and normalized difference vegetation index (dNDVI) (from pre- and post-fire Landsat 7 images) against classified aerial photography. We investigate how vegetation, topography, and fire weather, and therefore intensity, influenced fire severity patterns. According to the aerial photographic classification, the fire burnt 25,950 ha of which 5% burnt at low severities, 17% at medium severity, 32% at high severity, 23% at very high severities, while 22% contained unburnt patches. Generalized linear modelling revealed that fire severity was strongly influenced by slope angle, aspect, and interactions between vegetation type and fire weather (FFDI) ranging from moderate (12) to catastrophic (>100). Extreme fire weather, which occurred in 2% of the total fire duration of the fire (16 days), caused the fire to burn nearly half (46%) of the total area of the fireground and resulted in modelled extreme fireline intensities among all vegetation types, including an inferred peak of 68,000 kW·m−1 in dry forest. The best satellite-based severity map was the site-specific dNBR (45% congruence with aerial photography) showing dNBR potential in Eucalyptus forests, but the reliability of this approach must be assessed using aerial photography, and/or ground assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extreme Fire Events, Ecosystem Resilience, and Human Well-Being)
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Open AccessReview Do Mixed Fire Regimes Shape Plant Flammability and Post-Fire Recovery Strategies?
Received: 20 September 2018 / Revised: 15 October 2018 / Accepted: 16 October 2018 / Published: 22 October 2018
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Abstract
The development of frameworks for better-understanding ecological syndromes and putative evolutionary strategies of plant adaptation to fire has recently received a flurry of attention, including a new model hypothesizing that plants have diverged into three different plant flammability strategies due to natural selection. [...] Read more.
The development of frameworks for better-understanding ecological syndromes and putative evolutionary strategies of plant adaptation to fire has recently received a flurry of attention, including a new model hypothesizing that plants have diverged into three different plant flammability strategies due to natural selection. We provide three case studies of pyromes/taxa (Pinus, the Proteaceae of the Cape Floristic Region, and Eucalyptus) that, contrary to model assumptions, reveal that plant species often exhibit traits of more than one of these flammability and post-fire recovery strategies. We propose that such multiple-strategy adaptations have been favoured as bet-hedging strategies in response to selective pressure from mixed-fire regimes experienced by these species over evolutionary time. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Changes in Lightning Fire Incidence in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, 1980–2016
Received: 26 September 2018 / Revised: 15 October 2018 / Accepted: 17 October 2018 / Published: 19 October 2018
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Abstract
The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) has globally significant natural and cultural values, some of which are dependent on the absence of fire or the presence of particular fire regimes. Planned burning is currently used to reduce the risk of loss of [...] Read more.
The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) has globally significant natural and cultural values, some of which are dependent on the absence of fire or the presence of particular fire regimes. Planned burning is currently used to reduce the risk of loss of world heritage values from unplanned fires, but large and damaging fires still occur, with lightning as the primary ignition source. Lightning-caused fire was rare in the TWWHA before 2000. There has since been an increase in both the number of fires following lightning storms and the area burnt by these fires. In the absence of a direct measurement of lightning strike incidence, we tested whether changes in rainfall, soil dryness and fuel load were responsible for these changes in fire incidence and extent. There were no relationships between these variables and the incidence of fires associated with lightning, but the variability in the Soil Dryness Index and the mean of 25% of driest values did predict both the number and area of fires. Thus, it appears that an increase in the proportion of lightning strikes that occur in dry conditions has increased ignition efficiency. These changes have important implications for the management of the TWWHA’s values, as higher projected fuel loads and drier climates could result in a further increase in the number of fires associated with lightning. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Slash-and-Burn Practices Decrease Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Abundance in Soil and the Roots of Didierea madagascariensis in the Dry Tropical Forest of Madagascar
Received: 27 August 2018 / Revised: 17 September 2018 / Accepted: 26 September 2018 / Published: 1 October 2018
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Abstract
Deforestation and the use of fire to clear land have drastic effects on ecosystem functioning and compromise essential ecosystem services, especially in low-income tropical countries such as Madagascar. We evaluated the effects of local slash-and-burn practices on soil nutrients and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) [...] Read more.
Deforestation and the use of fire to clear land have drastic effects on ecosystem functioning and compromise essential ecosystem services, especially in low-income tropical countries such as Madagascar. We evaluated the effects of local slash-and-burn practices on soil nutrients and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi abundance in a southwestern Madagascar forest. Nine sampling plot pairs were established along the border of a reserve within the Fiherenana–Manombo (pk-32) complex, where soil and seedling root samples of the endemic tree Didierea madagascariensis were taken. We analysed soil extractable PO43−, NH4+, and NO3 as well as total soil carbon and nitrogen. We analysed AM fungal abundance in soil and roots through fatty acid marker analysis (NLFA and PLFA 16:1ω5), spore extraction, and root staining. Slash-and-burn caused an increase in pH and doubled the plant available nutrients (from 7.4 to 13.1 µg PO43− g−1 and from 6.9 to 13.2 µg NO3 g−1). Total C and total N increased in deforested soil, from 0.6% to 0.84% and from 0.06% to 0.08%, respectively. There was a significant decline in AM fungi abundance in soil, with a decrease in soil NLFA 16:1ω5 from 0.2 to 0.12 nmol/g. AM fungi abundance in D. madagascariensis roots was also negatively affected and colonization decreased from 27.7% to 16.9% and NLFA 16:1ω5 decreased from 75.7 to 19 nmol/g. Together with hyphal network disruption, increased nutrient availability caused by burning is proposed as an explanation behind AM decline in soil and roots of D. madagascariensis. This is the first study to report the effects of slash-and-burn on AM symbiosis in Madagascar’s dry forests, with likely implications for other tropical and subtropical dryland forests worldwide where slash-and-burn is practiced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land-Use and Fire around the World from the Past to the Present)
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Open AccessArticle Assessing the Impact of Climate Variability on Wildfires in the N’Zi River Watershed in Central Côte d’Ivoire
Received: 30 July 2018 / Revised: 19 September 2018 / Accepted: 25 September 2018 / Published: 28 September 2018
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Abstract
This study evaluates the impact of climate variability on wildfire regime in the N’Zi River Watershed (NRW) in central Côte d’Ivoire. For that purpose, MODIS active fire and monthly burned area data are used to evaluate wildfire occurrence, impacts and trends. Wildfire data [...] Read more.
This study evaluates the impact of climate variability on wildfire regime in the N’Zi River Watershed (NRW) in central Côte d’Ivoire. For that purpose, MODIS active fire and monthly burned area data are used to evaluate wildfire occurrence, impacts and trends. Wildfire data are compared to past trends of different climatic parameters extracted from long-term meteorological records. Generalized additive models and Spearman correlations are used to evaluate the relationships between climate variables and wildfire occurrence. Seasonal Kendall and Sen’s slope methods were used for trend analysis. Results showed that from 2001 to 2016, 19,156 wildfire occurrences are recorded in the NRW, of which 4443 wildfire events are observed in forest, 9536 in pre-forest, and 5177 in Sudanian zones. The burned areas are evaluated at 71,979.7 km2, of which 10,488.41 km2 were registered in forest, 33,211.96 km2 in pre-forest, and 28,279.33 km2 in Sudanian zones. A downward trend is observed in fire records. The results indicates a strong correlation between some climatic variables and wildfire regime in this ecoregion. These correlations can be used to develop models that could be used as prediction tools for better management of fire regimes and support decision-making in the NRW. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Grass Canopy Architecture Influences Temperature Exposure at Soil Surface
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 21 September 2018 / Accepted: 22 September 2018 / Published: 26 September 2018
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Abstract
There is increasing recognition that plant traits contribute to variations in fire behavior and fire regime. Diversity across species in litter flammability and canopy flammability has been documented in many woody plants. Grasses, however, are often considered homogeneous fuels in which any flammability [...] Read more.
There is increasing recognition that plant traits contribute to variations in fire behavior and fire regime. Diversity across species in litter flammability and canopy flammability has been documented in many woody plants. Grasses, however, are often considered homogeneous fuels in which any flammability differences across species are attributable to biomass differences alone and therefore are of less ecological interest, because biomass is hugely plastic. We examined the effect of grass canopy architecture on flammability across eight grass species in short grass steppe of New Mexico and Texas. To characterize grass canopy architecture, we measured biomass density and “biomass-height ratio” (the ratio of canopy biomass above 10 cm to that of biomass below 10 cm). Indoor flammability experiments were performed on air-dried individual plants. As expected, plant biomass influenced all flammability measures. However, biomass-height ratio had additional negative effect on temperature exposure at soil surface (accumulation of mean temperature >100 °C) in well-cured grasses, which is an important fire behavior metric predicting soil heating and meristem survival. This canopy architecture effect, however, needs further investigation to be isolated from biomass density due to correlation of these two traits. This result demonstrates the potential for species-specific variation in architecture to influence local fire effects in grasses. Full article
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Open AccessBook Review Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America by Dr. Stephen J. Pyne, 1st ed.; University of Arizona Press: Tucson, AZ, USA, 2015
Received: 13 September 2018 / Accepted: 21 September 2018 / Published: 25 September 2018
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Abstract
Between Two Fires [1] is one of many books that Dr. Stephen J. Pyne has published about the wildland fire scene.[...] Full article
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