Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 1175–1189 | Cite as

Profiling forest fires along the urban gradient: a Mediterranean case study

  • Luca SalvatiEmail author


The present paper assesses the spatial distribution and basic characteristics of 2,692 forest fires occurred along the urban gradient in a Mediterranean expanding region (Athens, Greece) during twelve years (2000–2011). Using descriptive, correlation and multivariate statistics, the study demonstrates that fringe fires significantly differ in size and frequency from peri-urban and rural fires, with the highest values recorded in the peri-urban belt (7.8 events/ha/year with an average size of 30.5 ha). Fringe fires are medium-sized (8 ha on average) and affected primarily forests, woodlands and high shrub lands. Totalizing 57 % of total events, rural fires affected primarily pastures and agricultural areas and are the smallest in size (1.5 ha) showing also the lowest density (7.3 events/ha). Fire distribution in Athens reflects the transition from a mono-centric and compact city expanding along the fringe to a more dispersed agglomeration. Results point out the increased pressure on peri-urban land due to settlement sprawl and real estate speculation and highlight the urgent need of specific forest and land management measures separately for the urban fringe and peri-urban areas.


Fire size Fire density Multivariate statistics Urban sprawl Mediterranean city 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Consiglio per la Ricerca e la sperimentazione in AgricolturaCentre for the Study of Plant-Soil Interactions (CRA-RPS)RomeItaly

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