Fires: Wildland

Authored by: Jian Yang

Encyclopedia of Natural Resources

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439852583
eBook ISBN: 9781351043847
Adobe ISBN:


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Wildland fire is any fire burning vegetation (e.g., forests, grasslands) that occurs in wildland areas. Earth has had wildland fires for more than 400 million years, with about 2% of terrestrial land being burned annually in the modern period. Although wildland fires have been viewed as a damaging agent to nature and social systems, recent advances in fire ecology have raised awareness that wildland fire is an important natural disturbance that plays an important role in shaping global biome distribution, evolution of species, plant traits, and biodiversity. This entry discusses causes, characteristics, consequences, and management of wildland fire. Special focus areas include dominant controls of wildland fire (i.e., fire triangles) at multiple spatiotemporal scales, parameters to describe characteristics of a single fire event (i.e., fire behavior) and recurring fire events in a landscape over an extended period of time (i.e., fire regime), the ecological effects of wildland fire, and the history of wildland fire policy.

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