CONFERENCES, SEMINARS AND CONSULTATIONS ORGANIZED BY GFMC

Fire in the Environment:
The Ecological, Atmospheric, and Climatic Importance of Vegetation Fires

Dahlem Konferenz, Berlin, Germany, 1520 March 1992
Conveners: Paul J. Crutzen and Johann Georg Goldammer
Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Germany

Background, justification and outline of the Dahlem Konferenz

The concentration of several trace gases in the earth’s atmosphere that are important for climate and atmospheric chemistry are strongly increasing due to various human activities. In this context much emphasis has been given to the input of trace gases from industrial and technological activities, leading to emissions of such gases as CO2, CO, NOx and SO2. Because studies of both fire ecology and biomass burning effects in the atmosphere are strongly interdisciplinary, the Dahlem Konferenz provided an opportunity to develop an objective and comprehensive view of the role of fire in the environment Earth. Among the possible outcomes of the proposed conference was the definition of some major research topics to be addressed by the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry Programme (IGAC) and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP).

Conference Objectives

The conference aimed at exploring the role of fire in the vegetation of Earth and their impact on the environment – the first global analysis of the role of fire in the Earth System – by addressing in particular:

– Assess current quantitative knowledge on the extent of worldwide biomass burning both in forest and savanna ecosystems, including estimations of trace gas emissions and resulting atmospheric chemical and climatic effects.

– Establish the effects of fires in the major vegetation zones of the globe, with emphasis on primary production, ecosystem dynamics, as well as changing carbon and nutrient storage and fluxes.

– Assess the role of fires in the multiple interactions between climate and ecosystem dynamics, especially in light of anticipated climatic changes and human expansions into tropical and subtropical ecosystems.

– Explore the information content of paleorecords on fires regarding natural climatic biogeographic changes (glacial-interglacial) and human expansions in various regions of the earth.

– Explore the social causes and methods for the use of fires during past and present in various parts of the earth and develop visions of ecologically adequate and socio-economically feasible fire management concepts.

The disciplines involved in the conference included fire ecology, paleoecology, climatology, palynology, sedimentology, soil science, microbiology, biogeochemistry, atmospheric chemistry, remote sensing, anthropology, cultural history, fire history, fire management.

Publication

Crutzen, P.J. and J.G. Goldammer (eds.) 1993. Fire in the environment: The ecological, atmospheric, and climatic importance of vegetation fires. Dahlem Workshop Reports. Environmental Sciences Research Report 13. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, 400 p.

Book order through WorldCat.

Contents of the volume and conference recommendations (PDF, 1.8 MB)

Chapters authored and co-authored by GFMC

– Goldammer, J.G., and P.J. Crutzen. 1993. Fire in the environment: Scientific rationale and summary results of the Dahlem Workshop. In: Fire in the environment: The ecological, atmospheric, and climatic importance of vegetation fires (P.J. Crutzen and J.G. Goldammer, eds.), 1-14. Dahlem Workshop Reports. Environmental Sciences Research Report 13. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, 400 p.

– Goldammer, J.G. 1993. Historical biogeography of fire – tropical and subtropical. In: Fire in the environment: The ecological, atmospheric, and climatic importance of vegetation fires (P.J. Crutzen and J.G. Goldammer, eds.), 297-314. Dahlem Workshop Reports. Environmental Sciences Research Report 13. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, 400 p.

– Kauffman, J.B., N.L. Christensen, J.G. Goldammer, C.O. Justice, T. May, S.J. Pyne, B.J. Stocks, L.V. Trabaud, W.S.W. Trollope, K.-F. Weiss, and M. Williams. 1993. Group report: The role of humans in shaping fire regimes and ecosystem properties. In: Fire in the environment: The ecological, atmospheric, and climatic importance of vegetation fires (P.J. Crutzen and J.G. Goldammer, eds.), 376-388. Dahlem Workshop Reports. Environmental Sciences Research Report 13. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, 400 p.

Participants






Conference Limericks

Artistic liberty was taken where legibility was lacking …. (PDF, 2.3 MB)

Press Release and Reporting

Press release (in German) (PDF, 0.4 MB)

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (25 March 1992, in German) (PDF, 0.6 MB)

Review of the conference publication (PDF, 0.4 MB)

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