Special Issue "Wildland Fires"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 April 2017).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. James A. Lutz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
S. J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources, Utah State University, 5230 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322-5230, USA
Interests: forest ecology; community ecology; fire ecology; biogeography; climate change
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Chad M. Hoffman
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Forest & Rangeland Stewardship, Colorado State University, 1472 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
Interests: wildland fire science; fire behavior modeling and simulation; fuel dynamics; fuel management; forest restoration; fire ecology; disturbance ecology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Grant Williamson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Biological Sciences, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia
Interests: air quality and smoke management; GIS; remote sensing; fire ecology; landscape ecology; fire modelling; smoke transport modelling; forests; climate change; emission factors
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Andrew T. Hudak
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Research Forester, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, 1221 South Main Street, Moscow, ID 83843, USA
Interests: landscape, vegetation, and fire ecology; remote sensing of vegetation patterns and processes; forest and rangeland ecology and management; empirical modeling of spatially explicit ecological data

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fires are essential to human life and civilization. Fires have been used by humans for millennia to promote agriculture and wildlife, and they have significant impacts on human health, atmospheric chemistry, and a multitude of ecosystems goods and services. To this day, wildland fires are events of social and ecological concern. Under climate change, wildfires are expected to increase in frequency, size, and intensity in many parts of the world. Equally the use of prescribed fires and other stand management approaches are widely considered to mitigate the impacts of future unplanned fires.

Wildland fires serve a crucial role in the various biogeochemical and hydrological cycles by recycling and redistributing nutrients locally and globally, initiating the regeneration of vegetation, and modifying habitats for numerous species. Wildland fires have direct and indirect impacts on a number of downstream processes including erosion, food and fiber systems, energy production, and other natural disasters. The last twenty years has seen a widespread increase in the acceptance that given fires are likely to increase under climate change that adaptation strategies and mitigative actions will be needed to reduce the impact of those future fires on critical ecosystem goods and services. Over this time, there has also been significant progress in the understanding of how to monitor and assess the impacts of fires, how to evaluate and assess the social impact and responses to these events, and a rise of large interdisciplinary projects geared at understanding the complex interactions of fire in the environment.

This Special Issue is open to all studies focusing on:

  • The spatial and temporal assessments of fire frequency, extent, and severity
  • The spatial and temporal assessments of fuels
  • The effects of fire on ecosystem goods and services
  • The spatial and temporal assessment of fire recovery, refugia, and other landscape patterns
  • The effects of fire on economic values and community resilience
  • The impacts of fires on the risk of other natural disasters (e.g., mudslides)
  • Understanding trade-offs between wildfire and prescribed fire (e.g., utility and effectiveness of prescribed fire)
  • Studies investigating the use of prescribed fires to restore or historic fire regimes
  • Studies focuses on understanding the relationship between historic and future fire regimes
  • Studies focused on detecting trends in fire activity and projecting future fire activity
  • Improvements to global dynamic (vegetation) models in ways that better incorporate fire
  • Improvements to the mechanistic understanding of how fire impacts biogeochemical, atmospheric, and hydrological cycles

Dr. Alistair M. S. Smith
Dr. Chad Hoffman
Dr. Grant Williamson
Dr. Andrew Hudak
Dr. James Lutz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Preface: Special Issue on Wildland Fires
Land 2018, 7(2), 46; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land7020046 - 12 Apr 2018
Viewed by 1530
Abstract
Wildland fires are a critical Earth-system process that impacts human populations in each settled continent[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildland Fires)

Research

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Article
Collaborative Research on the Ecology and Management of the ‘Wulo’ Monsoon Rainforest in Wunambal Gaambera Country, North Kimberley, Australia
Land 2017, 6(4), 68; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land6040068 - 05 Oct 2017
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2987
Abstract
Indigenous groups are increasingly combining traditional ecological knowledge and Western scientific approaches to inform the management of their lands. We report the outcomes of a collaborative research project focused on key ecological questions associated with monsoon vine thickets in Wunambal Gaambera country (Kimberley [...] Read more.
Indigenous groups are increasingly combining traditional ecological knowledge and Western scientific approaches to inform the management of their lands. We report the outcomes of a collaborative research project focused on key ecological questions associated with monsoon vine thickets in Wunambal Gaambera country (Kimberley region, Western Australia). The study mapped monsoon rainforests and analysed the environmental correlates of their current distribution, as well as the historical drivers of patch dynamics since 1949. Remote sensing was used to chart the effectiveness of an intervention designed to re-instate Aboriginal fire regimes according to customary principles. We identified the most vulnerable patches based on size, distance from neighbouring patches, and fire frequency. More than 6000 rainforest patches were mapped. Most were small (<1 ha), occurring predominantly on nutrient-rich substrates (e.g., basalt) and fire-sheltered topographic settings (e.g., slopes and valleys). Rainforests with low fire frequency and no cattle were more likely to expand into surrounding long-unburnt savannas. Frequent fires and cattle did not cause substantial contraction, although the latter affected rainforest understories through trampling. Fire management performed by Aboriginal rangers effectively shifted fire regimes from high-intensity late dry season fires to early dry season fires, particularly in areas with clusters of vulnerable rainforests. The remote sensing methods developed in this project are applicable to the long-term monitoring of rainforest patches on Aboriginal-managed land in North Kimberley, providing tools to evaluate the impacts of fire management, feral animal control, and climate change. The study confirmed the importance of the cattle-free and rarely burnt Bougainville Peninsula as one of the most important rainforest areas in Western Australia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildland Fires)
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Article
Numerical Investigation of Aggregated Fuel Spatial Pattern Impacts on Fire Behavior
Land 2017, 6(2), 43; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land6020043 - 18 Jun 2017
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 3141
Abstract
Landscape heterogeneity shapes species distributions, interactions, and fluctuations. Historically, in dry forest ecosystems, low canopy cover and heterogeneous fuel patterns often moderated disturbances like fire. Over the last century, however, increases in canopy cover and more homogeneous patterns have contributed to altered fire [...] Read more.
Landscape heterogeneity shapes species distributions, interactions, and fluctuations. Historically, in dry forest ecosystems, low canopy cover and heterogeneous fuel patterns often moderated disturbances like fire. Over the last century, however, increases in canopy cover and more homogeneous patterns have contributed to altered fire regimes with higher fire severity. Fire management strategies emphasize increasing within-stand heterogeneity with aggregated fuel patterns to alter potential fire behavior. Yet, little is known about how such patterns may affect fire behavior, or how sensitive fire behavior changes from fuel patterns are to winds and canopy cover. Here, we used a physics-based fire behavior model, FIRETEC, to explore the impacts of spatially aggregated fuel patterns on the mean and variability of stand-level fire behavior, and to test sensitivity of these effects to wind and canopy cover. Qualitative and quantitative approaches suggest that spatial fuel patterns can significantly affect fire behavior. Based on our results we propose three hypotheses: (1) aggregated spatial fuel patterns primarily affect fire behavior by increasing variability; (2) this variability should increase with spatial scale of aggregation; and (3) fire behavior sensitivity to spatial pattern effects should be more pronounced under moderate wind and fuel conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildland Fires)
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Article
Governance of Land Use Planning to Reduce Fire Risk to Homes Mediterranean France and California
Land 2017, 6(2), 24; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land6020024 - 31 Mar 2017
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 4695
Abstract
Wildfire is a natural part of forested Mediterranean systems. As humans continue to live and build housing in these areas, wildfire is a constant threat to homes and lives. The goal of this paper is to describe aspects of land-use planning that are [...] Read more.
Wildfire is a natural part of forested Mediterranean systems. As humans continue to live and build housing in these areas, wildfire is a constant threat to homes and lives. The goal of this paper is to describe aspects of land-use planning that are used to reduce wildfire risk in institutionally divergent regions; southern France and California. By reviewing relevant legislation and planning documents and conducting in person interviews with fire and planning professionals, we identify the institutions which participate in land use planning to reduce fire risk and the key laws and regulations that guide planning decisions. Our results indicate that France has a more centralized system for planning for fire, with national level entities heavily involved in local land use planning. California, on the other hand sees almost no federal oversite, and, while state law requires local plans to include wildfire risk, most fine grain decisions are left to local planners and decision makers. In both regions, however, we see a reliance on technical support provided from outside local jurisdictions. Increased coordination between local, regional, and national governments could improve land use planning in both locations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildland Fires)
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Article
Characterizing Spatial Neighborhoods of Refugia Following Large Fires in Northern New Mexico USA
Land 2017, 6(1), 19; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land6010019 - 07 Mar 2017
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2477
Abstract
The spatial patterns resulting from large fires include refugial habitats that support surviving legacies and promote ecosystem recovery. To better understand the diverse ecological functions of refugia on burn mosaics, we used remotely sensed data to quantify neighborhood patterns of areas relatively unchanged [...] Read more.
The spatial patterns resulting from large fires include refugial habitats that support surviving legacies and promote ecosystem recovery. To better understand the diverse ecological functions of refugia on burn mosaics, we used remotely sensed data to quantify neighborhood patterns of areas relatively unchanged following the 2011 Las Conchas fire. Spatial patterns of refugia measured within 10-ha moving windows varied across a gradient from areas of high density, clustered in space, to sparsely populated neighborhoods that occurred in the background matrix. The scaling of these patterns was related to the underlying structure of topography measured by slope, aspect and potential soil wetness, and spatially varying climate. Using a nonmetric multidimensional scaling analysis of species cover data collected post-Las Conchas, we found that trees and forest associates were present across the refugial gradient, but communities also exhibited a range of species compositions and potential functions. Spatial patterns of refugia quantified for three previous burns (La Mesa 1977, Dome 1996, Cerro Grande 2000) were dynamic between fire events, but most refugia persisted through at least two fires. Efforts to maintain burn heterogeneity and its ecological functions can begin with identifying where refugia are likely to occur, using terrain-based microclimate models, burn severity models and available field data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildland Fires)
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Article
Fire and the Distribution and Uncertainty of Carbon Sequestered as Aboveground Tree Biomass in Yosemite and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
Land 2017, 6(1), 10; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land6010010 - 27 Jan 2017
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3134
Abstract
Fire is one of the principal agents changing forest carbon stocks and landscape level distributions of carbon, but few studies have addressed how accurate carbon accounting of fire-killed trees is or can be. We used a large number of forested plots (1646), detailed [...] Read more.
Fire is one of the principal agents changing forest carbon stocks and landscape level distributions of carbon, but few studies have addressed how accurate carbon accounting of fire-killed trees is or can be. We used a large number of forested plots (1646), detailed selection of species-specific and location-specific allometric equations, vegetation type maps with high levels of accuracy, and Monte Carlo simulation to model the amount and uncertainty of aboveground tree carbon present in tree species (hereafter, carbon) within Yosemite and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. We estimated aboveground carbon in trees within Yosemite National Park to be 25 Tg of carbon (C) (confidence interval (CI): 23–27 Tg C), and in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park to be 20 Tg C (CI: 18–21 Tg C). Low-severity and moderate-severity fire had little or no effect on the amount of carbon sequestered in trees at the landscape scale, and high-severity fire did not immediately consume much carbon. Although many of our data inputs were more accurate than those used in similar studies in other locations, the total uncertainty of carbon estimates was still greater than ±10%, mostly due to potential uncertainties in landscape-scale vegetation type mismatches and trees larger than the ranges of existing allometric equations. If carbon inventories are to be meaningfully used in policy, there is an urgent need for more accurate landscape classification methods, improvement in allometric equations for tree species, and better understanding of the uncertainties inherent in existing carbon accounting methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildland Fires)
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