Perhaps the most dramatic demonstration of the impact of global environmental change has been the rapid change in fire regimes, from the Amazon to suburban Athens. However, the observed disruption in global wildfire regimes has not yet been directly attributed to climate – but only to weather patterns that make wildfires more likely.
At the heart of this issue is a lack of understanding of the diverse socio-ecological feedbacks that are driving Anthropocene wildfires. For example, in response to damaging fire events, common policy responses such as increased suppression and fire use bans may ultimately exacerbate fire risk by leading to large build-ups of flammable and connected fuels. Meanwhile a combination of global-scale trade conflict, national-scale political change and regional drought have all contributed to a surge in wildfires in the Amazon basin. These examples highlight the urgent need for new transdisciplinary approaches to wildfire research that account for feedbacks between land use and wider environmental change.
In this session we welcome a broad range of contributions that explore the interactions between socio-economic and biophysical drivers of wildfires, encompassing disciplines including: anthropology, earth observation, ecology, economics, land surface and climate modelling, and political science. Example topics might include how agricultural intensification, land degradation and CO2 fertilisation effects combine to alter fire regimes in grassland ecosystems, through to how rural and urban populations’ contrasting perceptions of risk can influence land management policies.
We particularly encourage contributions that demonstrate how methods from different disciplines may inform each other. Holistic advances in our understanding can lead to better adaptation policies and strategies, and will be vital to improved wildfire modelling and attribution of fire regime changes to climate change.