How Will Deforestation and Vegetation Degradation Affect Global Fire Activity?

Park, C. Y., Takahashi, K., Takakura, J., Li, F., Fujimori, S. ORCID:, Hasegawa, T., Ito, A., & Lee, D. K. (2021). How Will Deforestation and Vegetation Degradation Affect Global Fire Activity? Earth's Future 9 (5) e2020EF001786. 10.1029/2020EF001786.

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Globally, many parts of fire emissions are driven by deforestation. However, few studies have attempted to evaluate deforestation and vegetation degradation fires (DDF) and predict how they will change in the future. In this study, we expanded a fire model used in the Community Land Model to reflect the diverse causes of DDF. This enabled us to differentiate DDFs by cause (climate change, wood harvesting, and cropland, pastureland, and urban land-use changes) and seasonality. We then predicted the state of fire regimes in the 2050s and 2090s under RCP 2.6 and RCP 6.0 scenarios. Our results indicate that the area affected by global total fires will decrease from the current 452 to 211–378 Mha yr−1 in the 2090s under RCP 6.0 and to 184–333 Mha yr−1 under RCP 2.6, mainly due to socioeconomic factors such as population and economic growth. We also predict that DDF will decrease from the current 73 million hectares per year (Mha yr−1) to 54–66 Mha yr−1 in the 2090s under RCP 6.0 and 46–55 Mha yr−1 under RCP 2.6. The main contributor to these decreases in DDF burned area was climate change, especially the increasing of precipitation. The impact of future land use change on future DDF was similar or slightly lower than present-day. South America, Indonesia, and Australia were identified as high-risk regions for future DDF, mainly due to the expansion of wood harvest and pastureland. Appropriate land and fire management policies will be needed to reduce future fire damage in these areas.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change; climate change risk; fire risk; land use change; socioeconomic change
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Sustainable Service Systems (S3)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions (TISS)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2021 14:42
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:34

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