Navigation Links
Forest fires are becoming larger and more frequent
Date:10/24/2011

This press release is available in Spanish.

The study, recently published in the journal Climatic Change, is the result of an interdisciplinary collaboration between two researchers: one is UC3M Professor Santiago Fernndez Muoz, who has worked in the area of geographic history under the direction of the Universidad Autnoma de Madrid Professor Josefina Gmez Mendoza; the other is Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientficas (CSIC Spanish National Research Council) ecologist Juli Pausas. Specifically, the authors constructed a complete database of historical fires in the province of Valencia in order to relate them to the evolution of the climate and societal and territorial transformations in the region. The research that was carried out provides the most complete series of data on the evolution of fires in the Mediterranean basin to date.

The conclusion they have reached is that a significant change in the number and, especially, size of forest fires took place during the decade of the seventies. This change can be directly related to the rural exodus and transformation of land use that took place during that decade. "The depopulation of rural areas resulted in the abandonment of agricultural spaces that had historically been interspersed among the forests. Because of this, in the space of a few years, spaces where there had previously been grain fields were invaded by highly flammable vegetation in a series of steps leading toward the Mediterranean forests", explains Professor Fernndez Muoz.

The key: 0.6 inhabitants per square kilometer

At the same time, the extraction of firewood decreased drastically as a consequence of the incorporation of other sources of energy, and the country witnessed a very relevant transformation in its rural landscapes, which became "less populated and with fewer patchworks of land for agricultural use, with more continuous forest masses and more highly flammable vegetation", clarifies the expert. In spite of the fact that depopulation and the changes in land use were gradual, this research has detected a number of thresholds after which a very significant increase in the number of fires took place; these numbers fall around a population density of 0.6 inhabitants per square kilometer.

To carry out this study, the scientists first did basic research on the incidence of forest fires in the province of Valencia beginning in 1875. To do this, they reviewed the forest administration's archives and identified every news item regarding fires that had appeared in the local newspapers. Thanks to this work, they were able to elaborate a database with thousands of records of fires identified by date, location and the surface area that had burned. Finally, they related all of this information to socioeconomic variables (evolution of the population, land use, etc.) and climatic variables (precipitation, temperature), by applying complex statistical methods to find the connection among the different variables.

To sum up, what they have found is that the change in the occurrence of fires that are recorded in the historical research cannot be explained by the gradual change in climate, but rather that it corresponds to changes in the availability of fuel, the use of sources of energy and the continuity of the landscape. This research, which attempts to explain the evolution of fires, may be very useful for the management of forest areas prone to fires in the middle and long term, according to the authors.


'/>"/>
Contact: Ana Herrera
oic@uc3m.es
Carlos III University of Madrid
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Lichens function as indicators of nitrogen pollution in forests
2. Tropical rainforest and mountain species may be threatened by global warming
3. Forest peoples rights key to reducing emissions from deforestation
4. When it comes to forest soil, wildfires pack 1-2 punch
5. University of Leicester professor adds new perspective to rainforest debate
6. Wake Forest plays integral role in effort to revolutionize vehicle safety
7. Diversity of trees in Ecuadors Amazon rainforest defies simple explanation
8. Earthworm activity can alter forests carbon-carrying capabilities
9. Living fossil tree contains genetic imprints of rain forests under climate change
10. Dried mushrooms slow climate warming in Northern forests
11. Wildfires result in loss of forests reserved by Northwest Forest Plan
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Forest fires are becoming larger and more frequent
(Date:2/28/2017)... , February 28, 2017 News solutions ... ... Amsterdam from 14 to 16 March, Materna will ... and show how seamless travel is a real benefit for passengers. ... added biometrics to their passenger touch point solutions to take passengers ...
(Date:2/26/2017)... 25, 2017  Securus Technologies, a leading provider ... public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring, announces the ... "Too often, too many offenders return ... jails are trying to tackle this ongoing problem ... and family members. While significant steps are underway, Securus ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... PORTLAND, Ore. , Feb. 22, 2017  IBM ... Companies (Avamere Health Services, Infinity Rehab, Signature Hospice, Home ... that will apply the power of IBM cognitive computing ... health centers. By analyzing data streaming from sensors in ... physical and environmental conditions, and obtain deeper learnings into ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... Sinovac Biotech Ltd. ("Sinovac" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: SVA), ... , today announced that its board of directors has amended its ... from March 27, 2017 to March 27, 2018. The amendment was not ... Biotech Ltd. ... Sinovac Biotech Ltd. is a China -based ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... 23, 2017 , ... AxioMed president, Jake Lubinski, describes the ... when deformed, which is identical to how the human discs work to distribute ... return to its natural state along a hysteresis curve, exactly like a healthy ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 2017  SeraCare Life Sciences, Inc., a manufacturer ... diagnostics manufacturers and clinical laboratories, is announcing ... Inherited Cancer reference material for ... sequencing (NGS). The Seraseqâ„¢ Inherited Cancer DNA Mix ... industry experts to validate the ability of ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017 Kineta, ... development of novel therapies in immuno-oncology, today announced ... lead" small molecule compounds that activate interferon response ... pathways and demonstrate immune-mediated tumor regression in a ... the study who demonstrated complete tumor regression to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: