Chapter

Global Change and Mediterranean-Type Ecosystems

Volume 117 of the series Ecological Studies pp 435-456

Sensitivity of Fire Regime in Chaparral Ecosystems to Climate Change

  • Frank W. Davis
  • , Joel Michaelsen

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Abstract

The fire regime of an area is characterized by the type, intensity, size, return interval, and spatial pattern of fires that have occurred there over recent history. Fire regime is an emergent property of landscapes, expressing the interaction of climate, vegetation, topography, and land management. Thus the potential impact of climatic change on chaparral fire regime must be analyzed within a specific regional context. Ideally, the analysis should also account for the spatial arrangement of topography, vegetation types, ignition sources, and land cover types that serve as fire breaks, because fire regime and fire hazard may vary widely under the same climate, depending on how fire spread is regulated by these and other geographic factors.