Fire and Climate

Using the past to predict the future

Authored by: Justin Waito , Martin P. Girardin , Jacques C. Tardif , Christelle Hély , Olivier Blarquez , Adam A. Ali

Routledge Handbook of Forest Ecology

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415735452
eBook ISBN: 9781315818290
Adobe ISBN: 9781317816447


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The unique distribution and stand characteristics of global forests are the result of interactions between vegetation and the environment over millennial time spans. The spatial distribution of forests is governed in part by physical processes, such as incoming solar radiation, growth season length, and moisture and nutrient availability, which impose limitations on the establishment and growth of vegetation (Bonan and Shugart 1989). Additionally, vegetation distribution is influenced by disturbance events such as fire, damage from wind and ice storms, insect outbreaks, and rockfalls and avalanches in mountain regions (Attiwill 1994). These are important for regeneration and maintenance of the heterogeneous distribution of species and stand structure.

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