About this Research Topic
Wildland fires represent a critical and key process in many ecological systems across the globe – fires create and maintain biodiversity, create heterogenous landscapes, enhance nutrient cycling, provide habitat for wildlife species, and reduce surface, ladder, and canopy fuels. However, in many regions anthropogenic climate changes and management legacies and practices have caused profound shifts in wildfire regimes and fire patterns, through impacts on fuel condition, amount, and continuity, via effects on vegetation structure and composition, and as the result of changes in natural and human-caused ignitions.
Wildfires that are uncharacteristically large, severe, or frequent, or that burn in association with other ecological stressors, may abruptly reorganize ecosystems, potentially setting the stage for future fire and vegetation regimes that are significantly different from those that have existed in the past. For instance, during the summer of 2018, unusually destructive wildfires impacted Australia, Greece, North America, Scandinavia (with some areas even within the Arctic Circle) and the United Kingdom. In current ecological literature we find research that emphasizes the need for an historical perspective in understanding the dynamic nature of landscapes and disturbance regimes, and research that posits that the magnitude and rate of changing climate and environmental drivers requires new methods for modeling climate, fire, and landscape interactions. Identifying the emergence of no-analog or novel relationships among climate, fire, and ecosystem components – and circumstances where historical ecology provides important insights - is critical for the development of effective, long-term management strategies for forests, grasslands, and other natural resources under changing climate conditions.
With this in mind, we would like to invite you to submit to our Research Topic collection articles that advance our current understanding of the connections among past, present, and future climate and fire dynamics as related to key ecological and physical aspects of wildland fire, fire management, and the human dimensions of fire. Example topics include but are not limited to:
1. Field-based studies that relate past fire patterns and processes and their drivers to potential future dynamics and processes (these studies may use long-term records such as dendrochronological data, pollen and ice cores, lake sediments, middens and other archaeological data, and historical written records).
2. Observational studies that address connections between regional or global climate variability and change, land-use change, fire-weather, fuels, and fire occurrence.
3. Modelling studies that enable prediction of future fuel/vegetation conditions and fire regimes (pattern, frequency, and intensity of wildfires), including regional and global climate modelling and coupled climate-ecosystem modelling.
4. Applied studies; for example, application of historical ecology for land management, or examples of where and how concepts, methods, and inference from studies such as those described above have been applied in real-world contexts or related to current challenges in fire, climate, and ecosystem management.
Keywords: Forest fire, Wildland fire, Biodiversity, Climate change, Wildfire regime, Fire patterns, Fuel, Present, Past, Future, Historical data, Dynamics
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.