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Forest fire under climate, social and economic changes (FUME)

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Fires result from a number of interacting factors that occur at scales from global to local. Fire occurrence is closely linked to socioeconomics, and fire spread will depend on the previous factors plus fire fighting and other management measures. Socioeconomic drivers affect the global economy and, through it, the global and local climate and land use/land cover (LULC). Climate determines vegetation, fire danger, ignition sources and fire hazard and risk. Understanding the role of the various factors in determining fire regime at a given area is a challenge in its own right when the external boundary conditions are stable. However, that has not been the case during the second half of the 20th century. Further, changes in drivers are projected to continue happening during this century. Thus fire regime will likely be affected.

The strategy adopted in FUME to determine future fire regime and impacts is the following:

  1. Documenting the recent past: the project assessed how landscapes changed in the past and what influence these changes had on past fires in interaction with climate. Required are models of land-use land cover change and fire risk that can be projected under future scenarios of change.
  2. Scenarios of change and future impacts: the project set up scenarios of change (socioeconomics, land-use and land-cover, vegetation and climate) following IPCC-AR5 methodologies and scenarios. With these, and aided with results from 1, an assessment of the likely impacts on fire regime was made. Modelling, complemented with field experiments, evaluated future impacts on fire and on vegetation and landscapes. The assessment comprehended current-, as well as new fire-areas, wild-land areas and the rural-urban interface (RUI). Extreme climatology has been a particular focus.
  3. Adapting to change: once the range of future conditions are known, the capacity to cope with them has been evaluated focusing on how future risks can be reduced through preventive or reactive measures. The economic costs and policy implications of the expected changes have been analyzed.
  4. Organizing the research and insuring the transfer of knowledge: FUME used large amounts of data. This requires building a common data base. Further, a network of sites was organized for model testing and validation. Bridging the gap of knowledge transfer, particularly with managers, mostly from North Africa, was realized by training and specific actions with users.

The ultimate goal of FUME was to provide tools for better quantification of future impacts on fire regime, and on landscapes as a result of climate and social en economic changes. Based on them was assess the capacity to cope with fire under global change and to identify future vulnerabilities of ecosystems and societies.

Project information


Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (ES)


Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (ES), Centro de Estudios Ambientales del Mediterráneo (ES), Università degli Studi della Tuscia (IT), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (FR), Postdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung (DE), Fundaçao da Faculdade de Ciencias da Universidade de Lisboa (PT), Joint Research Centre (EU), Centro Euro-Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici (IT), Università degli Studi di Sassari (IT), Centre Nacional du Machinisme Agricole, du Genie Rural, Des Eaux et des Forets CEMAGREF (FR), National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (GR), University of Ioannina (GR), Lunds Univesitet (SE), Universidad de Cantabria (ES), Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (FR), Ilmatieteen Laitos (FI), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (IT), Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza/ International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (ES), Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (ES), Tecnologías y Servicios Agrarios (ES), Instituto Superior de Agronomia (PT), Centre for European Policy Studies (BE), Université F. Abbas de Sétif-Laboratoire d’Optique Appliquée (AL), Institute National de Recherches en Gènie Rural, Eaux et Forês (TN), National Meteorological Service Morocco (MA), Southwest Anatolia Forestry Research Institute (TR), South African National Biodiversity Institute (ZA), US Forest Service-Pacific Southwest, Research Station (US), Northern Arizona University (US), The University of Arizona (US), US Geological Service (US), University of Wollongong (AU), Universidad Austral de Chile (RCH)

Source of funding


Published in Climate-ADAPT Jun 07 2016   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Nov 18 2022

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