Understanding Fire Regimes for a Better Anthropocene

Luke Kelly, Ella Plumanns Pouton and colleagues have a new paper titled Understanding Fire Regimes for a Better Anthropocene – published in Annual Review of Environment and Resources.

We used satellite data to create global maps of where and how fires are burning. We calculated about 3.98 million square kilometres of Earth’s land surface burns each year. We also examined research spanning archaeology, climatology, ecology, Indigenous knowledge and paleoecology, to better understand the causes and consequences of fires.

Our international team found strong evidence fires are burning in unexpected places, at unusual times and in rarely observed ways. These changes in fire patterns are threatening human lives and modifying ecosystems. But the future does not have to be bleak. There are many opportunities to apply knowledge and practice of fire to benefit people and nature.

A deep understanding of fire is essential for achieving a sustainable future – in other words, a better Anthropocene.

The work was a collaboration between scientists from The University of Melbourne, The University of Oxford, AMAP (Botanique et Modélisation de l’Architecture des Plantes et des Végétations), The University of Cambridge, The University of Girona and The University of Tasmania.

You can also check out our companion piece in The Conversation Australia titled: Our planet is burning in unexpected ways – here’s how we can protect people and nature.

Update: And now in The Conversation España too: Nuestro planeta arde de una forma excepcional: así podemos proteger a las personas y a la naturaleza.