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Pyrogeography, historical ecology, and the human dimensions of fire regimes


Roos, C and Bowman, DMJS and Balch, JK and Artaxo, P and Bond, WJ and Cochrane, M and D'Antonio, CM and DeFries, R and Mack, M and Johnston, FH and Krawchuk, MA and Kull, CA and Moritz, MA and Pyne, S and Scott, AC and Swetnam, TW, Pyrogeography, historical ecology, and the human dimensions of fire regimes, Journal of Biogeography, 41, (4) pp. 833-836. ISSN 0305-0270 (2014) [Contribution to Refereed Journal]

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DOI: doi:10.1111/jbi.12285


In our 2011 synthesis (Bowman et al., Journal of Biogeography, 2011, 38, 2223–2236), we argued for a holistic approach to human issues in fire science that we term ‘pyrogeography’. Coughlan & Petty (Journal of Biogeography, 2013, 40, 1010–1012) critiqued our paper on the grounds that our ‘pyric phase’ model was built on outdated views of cultural development, claiming we developed it to be the unifying explanatory framework for all human–fire sciences. Rather, they suggest that ‘historical ecology’ could provide such a framework. We used the ‘pyric transition’ for multiple purposes but did not offer it as an exclusive explanatory framework for pyrogeography. Although ‘historical ecology’ is one of many useful approaches to studying human–fire relationships, scholars should also look to political and evolutionary ecology, ecosystems and complexity theories, as well as empirical generalizations to build an interdisciplinary fire science that incorporates human, ecological and biophysical dimensions of fire regimes.

Item Details

Item Type:Contribution to Refereed Journal
Keywords:forest fires, pyrogeography
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Epidemiology
Research Field:Environmental epidemiology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
UTAS Author:Johnston, FH (Professor Fay Johnston)
ID Code:96957
Year Published:2014
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (LP0882048)
Web of Science® Times Cited:42
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2014-11-26
Last Modified:2015-04-15

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