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Comparison of the sensitivity of landscape-fire-succession models to variation in terrain, fuel pattern, climate and weather

Posted date: February 02, 2007
Publication Year: 
2006
Authors: Cary, Geoffrey J.; Keane II, Robert E.; Gardner, Robert H.; Lavorel, Sandra; Flannigan, Mike D.; Davies, Ian D.; Li, Chao; Lenihan, James M.; Rupp, T. Scott; Mouillot, Florent
Publication Series: 
Proceedings (P)
Source: In: Andrews, Patricia L.; Butler, Bret W., comps. 2006. Fuels Management-How to Measure Success: Conference Proceedings. 28-30 March 2006; Portland, OR. Proceedings RMRS-P-41. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 563-574
Note: This article is part of a larger document.

Abstract

The relative importance of variables in determining area burned is an important management consideration although gaining insights from existing empirical data has proven difficult. The purpose of this study was to compare the sensitivity of modeled area burned to environmental factors across a range of independently-developed landscape-fire-succession models. The sensitivity of area burned to variation in four factors, namely terrain (flat, undulating and mountainous), fuel pattern (finely and coarsely clumped), climate (observed, warmer & wetter, and warmer & drier) and weather (year-to-year variability) was determined for four existing landscape-fire-succession models (EMBYR, FIRESCAPE, LANDSUM, and SEM-LAND) and a new model implemented in the LAMOS modelling shell (LAMOS(DS)). Sensitivity was measured as the variance in area burned explained by each of the four factors, and all of the interactions amongst them, in a standard generalised linear modelling analysis. Modeled area burned was most sensitive to climate and variation in weather, with four models sensitive to each of these factors and three models sensitive to their interaction. Models generally exhibited a trend of increasing area burned from observed, through warmer and wetter, to warmer and drier climates. Area burned was sensitive to terrain for FIRESCAPE and fuel pattern for EMBYR. These results demonstrate that the models are generally more sensitive to variation in climate and weather as compared with terrain complexity and fuel pattern, although the sensitivity to these latter factors in a small number of models demonstrates the importance of representing key processes. Our results have implications for representing fire in higher-order models like Dynamic Global Vegetation Models (DGVMs).

Citation

Cary, Geoffrey J.; Keane, Robert E.; Gardner, Robert H.; Lavorel, Sandra; Flannigan, Mike D.; Davies, Ian D.; Li, Chao; Lenihan, James M.; Rupp, T. Scott; Mouillot, Florent 2006. Comparison of the sensitivity of landscape-fire-succession models to variation in terrain, fuel pattern, climate and weather. In: Andrews, Patricia L.; Butler, Bret W., comps. 2006. Fuels Management-How to Measure Success: Conference Proceedings. 28-30 March 2006; Portland, OR. Proceedings RMRS-P-41. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 563-574