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Climatic Change

, Volume 115, Issue 3–4, pp 693–707 | Cite as

Management alternatives to offset climate change effects on Mediterranean fire regimes in NE Spain

  • Lasse LoepfeEmail author
  • Jordi Martinez-Vilalta
  • Josep Piñol
Article

Abstract

Fire regime is affected by climate and human settlements. In the Mediterranean, the predicted climate change is likely to exacerbate fire prone weather conditions, but the mid- to long-term impact of climate change on fire regime is not easily predictable. A negative feedback via fuel reduction, for instance, might cause a non-linear response of burned area to fire weather. Also, the number of fires escaping initial control could grow dramatically if the fire meteorology is just slightly more severe than what fire brigades are prepared for. Humans can directly influence fire regimes through ignition frequency, fire suppression and land use management. Here we use the fire regime model FIRE LADY to assess the impacts of climate change and local management options on number of fires, burned area, fraction of area burned in large fires and forest area during the twenty-first century in three regions of NE Spain. Our results show that currently fuel-humidity limited regions could suffer a drastic shift of fire regime with an up to 8 fold increase of annual burned area, due to a combination of fuel accumulation and severe fire weather, which would result in a period of unusually large fires. The impact of climate change on fire regime is predicted to be less pronounced in drier areas, with a gradual increase of burned area. Local fire prevention strategies could reduce but not totally offset climate induced changes in fire regimes. According to our model, a combination of restoring the traditional rural mosaic and classical fire prevention would be the most effective strategy, as a lower ignition frequency reduces the number of fires and the creation of agricultural fields in marginal areas reduces their extent.

Keywords

Fuel Accumulation Burned Area Fire Regime Fire Suppression Large Fire 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

Trevor Keenan kindly provided the weather data. Lasse Loepfe was funded by a FI-studentship of the Generalitat de Catalunya. Computational resources were provided by the Òliba Project of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. This study was partly funded by the European Research Projects EUFIRELAB (EVR1-2001-00054) and by the INIA project RTA2005-00100.

Supplementary material

10584_2012_488_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (1.3 mb)
Supplementary Fig. 1 Result of the agricultural land creation algorithm for the “production subsidies” (a) and the “landscape subsidies” (b) scenario (JPEG 1332 kb)
10584_2012_488_MOESM2_ESM.jpg (481 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 2 Effects of local management options compared to the current values on number of fires greater than 1 ha (ad), burned area (eg), burned area in fires greater than 1000 ha (il) and percentage of forest area (mp) in the Tivissa region under the A2 climate change scenario. Black lines represent no changes in fire management. Ignition frequency (A,E,I and M) was sampled on a logarithmic scale between 0.1 and 1 fold the original value, number of fire brigades (B,F,J and N) between 1 and 10 fold the original value. Agricultural field creation ranged from 0 % to 10 % of total area. We differentiated between the “production subsidies” scenario (C,G,K, and O), where new fields were created close to pre-existing ones, and the opposite “landscape subsidies” scenario (D,H,L, and P). The two scenarios are visualized in the supplementary Fig. S1 (JPEG 481 kb)
10584_2012_488_MOESM3_ESM.jpg (644 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 3 Effects of local management options compared to the current values on number of fires greater than 1 ha (ad), burned area (eg), burned area in fires greater than 1,000 ha (il) and percentage of forest area (mp) in the Ports region under the A2 climate change scenario. Black lines represent no changes in fire management. See Fig. S2 for a full description (JPEG 644 kb)
10584_2012_488_MOESM4_ESM.jpg (499 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 4 Effects of local management options compared to the current values on number of fires greater than 1 ha (ad), burned area (eg), burned area in fires greater than 1,000 ha (il) and percentage of forest area (mp) in the Igualada region under the A2 climate change scenario. Black lines represent no changes in fire management. See Fig. S2 for a full description (JPEG 499 kb)
10584_2012_488_MOESM5_ESM.jpg (483 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 5 Effects of local management options compared to the current values on number of fires greater than 1 ha (ad), burned area (eg), burned area in fires greater than 1,000 ha (il) and percentage of forest area (mp) in the Tivissa region under the B1 climate change scenario. Black lines represent no changes in fire management. See Fig. S2 for a full description (JPEG 482 kb)
10584_2012_488_MOESM6_ESM.jpg (661 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 6 Effects of local management options compared to the current values on number of fires greater than 1 ha (ad), burned area (eg), burned area in fires greater than 1,000 ha (il) and percentage of forest area (mp) in the Ports region under the B1 climate change scenario. Black lines represent no changes in fire management. See Fig. S2 for a full description (JPEG 660 kb)
10584_2012_488_MOESM7_ESM.jpg (496 kb)
Supplementary Fig. 7 Effects of local management options compared to the current values on number of fires greater than 1 ha (ad), burned area (eg), burned area in fires greater than 1,000 ha (il) and percentage of forest area (mp) in the Igualada region under the B1 climate change scenario. Black lines represent no changes in fire management. See Fig. S2 for a full description (JPEG 495 kb)
10584_2012_488_MOESM8_ESM.jpg (1.1 mb)
Supplementary Fig. 8 Boxplot of the of number of fires (a), area burned (b), fraction of area burned in fires greater than 1,000 ha (c) and forest area (d) using the B1 climate change scenario for the following scenarios of combined management strategies: 1) ignition frequency, fire suppression and land use remain at the current values (“do nothing”); 2) double fire brigades and half ignition frequency (“classical”); 3) 10 fold increase of fire brigades and reduction to 10 % of ignition frequency (“classical extreme”); 4) scenario 2 plus agricultural land creation of 10 % of total area with production subsidies (“combined production”); 5) scenario 2 plus agricultural land creation of 10 % of total area with landscape subsidies (“combined landscape”). Solid horizontal lines represent the current values (average from 1968 to 2005 data), dashed lines the median of the model simulations for the same period, dotted lines the 5 % and 95 % percitiles (see Loepfe et al. 2011 for details) (JPEG 1148 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lasse Loepfe
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jordi Martinez-Vilalta
    • 1
  • Josep Piñol
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF)Autonomous University of BarcelonaBellaterraSpain

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