Modeling Fire at a Global Scale


Interactions between vegetation and fire (as well as other disturbances) are critical for ecosystem dynamics. They are therefore incorporated into new simulation models of global vegetation processes.

Developing a fire model applicable on the global scale requires an approach different to existing local or regional fire models. These estimate conditions for ignition and lateral spread of individual fires across the landscape explicitly with the objective to forecast fire occurrence and estimate management demands. In contrast, the average characteristics of fire, e.g. fire size, return intervals etc., are considered at the broader scale in direct relation to ecosystem structure. Modeling these rather regional aspects requires an approach which is explicit enough to simulate geographical patterns, but general enough to be applicable to each vegetation type at large scales in a data-poor environment.

Recent efforts have shown that such models are indeed capable of simulating global fire regimes. The following two global fire models have been developed:

Recent publications on the LPJ fire module in the Lund-Potsdam-Jena Dynamic Global Vegetation Model (LPJ-DGVM):
Thonicke, K., S. Venewsky, S. Sitch, and W. Cramer. 2001. The role of fire disturbance for global vegetation dynamics: coupling fire into a Dynamic Vegetation Model. Global Ecology & Biogeography 10, 661-677. (pdf-file, Acrobat Reader required)

Venevsky, S., K. Thonicke, S. Sitch, and W. Cramer. 2002. Simulating fire regimes in human-dominated ecosystems: Iberian peninsula case study. Global Change Biology 8, 984-998. (pdf-file, Acrobat Reader required)

Recent Publications on Interactions between Vegetation Fire Emissions, Atmosphere, Climate and Global Models:

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