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Fire ecology for the 21st century: conserving biodiversity in the age of megafire

Author(s): Dale G. Nimmo, Alan N. Andersen, Sally Archibald, Matthias M. Boer, Lluis Brotons, Catherine L. Parr, Morgan W. Tingley
Year Published: 2022

Fire is one of Earth's most potent agents of ecological change. This Special Issue comes in the wake of a series of extreme wildfires across the world, from the Amazon, to Siberia, California, Portugal, South Africa and eastern Australia (Duane et al., 2021). These “megafires,” variously defined according to their size, intensity, or impacts (Attiwill & Binkley, 2013), are perhaps the signature feature of Earth's fiery transition to what Pyne (2020) has termed the “Pyrocene.” Projections of increased fire weather and extended fire seasons portend an increasingly flammable planet (Ellis et al.; Jain et al., 2021; Wu et al., 2021). Recent megafires have alarmed conservation scientists and practitioners because their scale and intensity demands new ways of thinking about biodiversity conservation in fire-prone landscapes, and, potentially, new tools tailored to avoid or minimise fire-induced declines and extinctions (Wintle et al., 2020). Megafires have the potential to transform landscapes at a speed and scale unmatched by most abiotic disturbances. Urgent questions remain regarding how ecosystems are affected by, and recover from, megafires (Jolly et al., 2022); the effectiveness of interventions aimed at minimising decline and promoting recovery of species, communities, and ecosystems following megafire (Wintle et al., 2020); how to best monitor the ecological impacts of megafire, and how to prioritise conservation investment within increasingly massive fire footprints (Southwell et al., 2022). This Special Issue of Diversity and Distributions grapples with some of these complexities and challenges.

Citation: Nimmo, Dale G.; Andersen, Alan N.; Archibald, Sally; Boer, Matthias M.; Brotons, Lluís; Parr, Catherine L.; Tingley, Morgan W. 2022. Fire ecology for the 21st century: conserving biodiversity in the age of megafire. Diversity and Distributions 28(3):350-356. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.13482
Topic(s): Fire Behavior, Extreme Fire Behavior, Fire Ecology, Fire Effects, Fire & Climate, Risk
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 24420
FRAMES RCS number: 65356
Record updated: Apr 6, 2022