Wildland Urban Interface
Complexity is the main feature of many fire-prone environments, in which the fire regime is driven by climate and socio-economic development on short and long timescales. In this study, the interaction between social and forest environments is modelled for the first time by assimilating socio-economic assets to a new flammable species with its own dynamics. This is a completely new approach that offers a new perspective to interpret shifts in fire regimes. The ten-years fire regime trend observed in Italy between 1970 and 2018, according to the model results, may be attributed to a progressive change of land use and inhabited development. The introduction of a new species adds complexity to fire dynamics and modifies the self-regulating Mediterranean forest fire regime. The results evidence that the evolution of a mosaic of natural and man-managed tiles of land may erase the 'natural' chaotic fire regime, exacerbate fire frequency and increase fire risk in inhabited areas.