Temperate and boreal forest mega-fires: characteristics and challenges

Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
By: , and 

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Abstract

Mega-fires are often defined according to their size and intensity but are more accurately described by their socioeconomic impacts. Three factors – climate change, fire exclusion, and antecedent disturbance, collectively referred to as the “mega-fire triangle” – likely contribute to today's mega-fires. Some characteristics of mega-fires may emulate historical fire regimes and can therefore sustain healthy fire-prone ecosystems, but other attributes decrease ecosystem resiliency. A good example of a program that seeks to mitigate mega-fires is located in Western Australia, where prescribed burning reduces wildfire intensity while conserving ecosystems. Crown-fire-adapted ecosystems are likely at higher risk of frequent mega-fires as a result of climate change, as compared with other ecosystems once subject to frequent less severe fires. Fire and forest managers should recognize that mega-fires will be a part of future wildland fire regimes and should develop strategies to reduce their undesired impacts.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Temperate and boreal forest mega-fires: characteristics and challenges
Series title Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
DOI 10.1890/120332
Volume 12
Issue 2
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 8 p.
First page 115
Last page 122
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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