An extensive review of studies and databases reveals that drought and an increase in temperature are already causing species substitutions, greater aridity, higher forest fire risk, lower soil fertility, and lower water availability, among other negative impacts.
In many ecosystems, fire promotes a greater variety of species of plants and animals since it creates a more diverse set of environments. The positive effects of fire cannot be generalized to all aspects of an ecosystem; profound knowledge about the local species and fire regime is crucial. Insights from the study are useful for planning management of forest biomass fuel, controlled burnings, and forest fire suppression.
A new study on wildfires in California, published in the journal PLOS ONE, and with the participation of Enric Batllori, researcher from CREAF and the Catalonia Forest Technology Centre (CTFC), reveals that human activities influence the frequency and location of wildfires just as much as climate. The researchers evaluated both the 'anthropogenic factor' and climate change. This is the first time that a study of this sort has been carried out in a territory of such size (California is about 13 times the size of Catalonia).
A CEED (Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions) Research Fellow has been recently awarded one of the five Victorian Postdoctoral Research Fellowships. He will travell to Spain to study the threat of fires to biodiversity at the CTFC (Forest Sciences Centre of Catalonia) and CREAF (Centre of Ecological Research and Forestry Applications).
InForest mixed unity, composed by CTFC and CREAF, has published the first images taken by drones of the burned area from Òdena's wildfire (Barcelona area), occurred last july which burned more than 1.200 ha. InForest is pioneer in drones use for ecology and conservation research.
The mathematic model developed by CREAF and CTFC is able to estimate the probability a landscape has to suffer a wind-driven fire, a topographic fire or a fuel driven fire. This tool could be used to improve fire suppression strategies and adapt prevention measures in front the new climate change scenario.