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Is anthropogenic pyrodiversity invisible in paleofire records?

Citation

Roos, CI and Williamson, GJ and Bowman, DMJS, Is anthropogenic pyrodiversity invisible in paleofire records?, Fire, 2, (3) Article 42. ISSN 2571-6255 (2019) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

DOI: doi:10.3390/fire2030042

Abstract

Paleofire studies frequently discount the impact of human activities in past fire regimes. Globally, we know that a common pattern of anthropogenic burning regimes is to burn many small patches at high frequency, thereby generating landscape heterogeneity. Is this type of anthropogenic pyrodiversity necessarily obscured in paleofire records because of fundamental limitations of those records? We evaluate this with a cellular automata model designed to replicate different fire regimes with identical fire rotations but different fire frequencies and patchiness. Our results indicate that high frequency patch burning can be identified in tree-ring records at relatively modest sampling intensities. However, standard methods that filter out fires represented by few trees systematically biases the records against patch burning. In simulated fire regime shifts, fading records, sample size, and the contrast between the shifted fire regimes all interact to make statistical identification of regime shifts challenging without other information. Recent studies indicate that integration of information from history, archaeology, or anthropology and paleofire data generate the most reliable inferences of anthropogenic patch burning and fire regime changes associated with cultural changes.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:fire, historic fire regimes, forests, pyrogeography, anthropogenic burning, fire history, dendrochronology, computer simulation, fire mosaic, patch burning
Research Division:Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
Research Group:Forestry Sciences
Research Field:Forestry Fire Management
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Objective Field:Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
UTAS Author:Williamson, GJ (Dr Grant Williamson)
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:134001
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2019-07-19
Last Modified:2019-08-05
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