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Occasional Paper 32 - Global Fire Challenges in a Warming World

Summary Note of a Global Expert Workshop on Fire and Climate Change

Today, catastrophic wildfires are increasingly common across the globe. Recent disasters have attracted media attention and strengthened the perception of wildfires as "bad" events, a plague worsened by climate change that has yet to be eradicated. Although it is true that fire has a destructive potential, the reality of global fire activity depicts a much more complex picture in which fire can be a useful, if not necessary, tool for food security and the preservation of cultural landscapes, as well as a an integral element of many ecosystems and their biodiversity.

In view of this, the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) and the World Bank's Program on Forests (PROFOR) jointly convened a Global Expert Workshop on Fire and Climate Change with the aim of improving the understanding of the complex interrelations between wildfire, climate, and land management, and of identifying urgently required response strategies and actions.

This Occasional Paper is the result of a large collaborative effort by fire scientists and practitioners who believe that learning to co-exist with changing fire activity is not only possible but necessary if we, as a global society, are to adapt to climate change and keep our natural and cultural landscapes healthy, resilient, and safe for the next generations. The work presented hereafter was developed during, and as follow-up to, the Global Expert Workshop on Fire and Climate Change hosted in Vienna, Austria, in July 2018. It stresses the diversity and the complexity of the global fire situation, a situation that is evolving, positively or negatively, in unknown proportions due to global environmental changes — with climate change being the most acknowledged manifestation.

Edited and coordinated by:
François-Nicolas Robinne, Janice Burns, Promode Kant, Mike D. Flannigan, Michael Kleine, Bill de Groot, D. Mike Wotton.

Contributing authors and reviewers:
Israr Albar, Lucy Amissah, David Bowman, Val Charlton, Mark Cochrane, Bill De Groot, David Ellison, Robert Field, Mike Flannigan, Johann Goldammer, Promode Kant, Muhammad Najeeb Khan, Werner L. Kornexl, Andrey Krasovskii, Sarah McCaffrey, Andrew M. Mitchell, A.K. Mohanty, Peter Moore, Daniel Murdiyarso, Alfredo Nolasco-Morales, Ainuddin Nuruddin, Stavros Papageorgiou, Natasha Ribeiro, François-Nicolas Robinne, Patricio Sanhueza, Jesús San-Miguel-Ayanz, Dmitry Schepaschenko, Alberto Setzer, Ross Smith, Britaldo Soares Filho, William Sommers, John Stanturf, Lara Steil, Guido Van der Werf, Cristina Vega-Garcia, E. Vikram.

Published in December 2018 as
IUFRO Occasional Paper 32
ISSN 1024-414X
ISBN 978-3-903258-13-6

In addition, a policy note was published by PROFOR which aims to lay out the key policy messages and recommendations for mitigating and adapting to the increasing impacts of wildfires around the world under a changing climate.

Download the full Occasional Paper:

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