Human-Fire Interactions: A Global Database

Authors: Oliver Perkins, Dept. of Geography, King's College London, UK & Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society, UK , Cathy Smith, Dept. of Geography, Royal Holloway University of London, UK & Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society, James D.A. Millington*, Dept. of Geography, King's College London, UK & Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society, UK
Topics: Global Change, Land Use, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: wildfire, land use, traditional ecological knowledge, meta-analysis
Session Type: Virtual Guided Poster
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 53
Presentation File: Download



Empirical studies of human use and management of fire in landscapes around the world have been conducted in many different academic fields, including anthropology, geography, land economics and ecology. However, as a consequence, the literature on the subject is fragmented, appearing across a diverse range of publications. The lack of a systematic empirical basis for understanding human impacts on wildfire regimes presents a challenge to incorporating anthropogenic fire into global-scale biophysical models. For example, representation of anthropogenic fire in dynamic global vegetation models still relies on few readily available metrics of human activity, such as population density and GDP.

To address this challenge, we conducted a global meta-analysis of studies of human-fire interactions, spanning the spectrum of academic disciplines and grey literature. From this analysis we constructed a Database of Anthropogenic Fire Impacts (DAFI). DAFI currently contains nearly 1800 case studies of fire use and management in >100 countries from >500 publications. Here, we present an overview of the structure and content of DAFI with visualization and analysis of the key variables. We find that seven fire-use types dominate the data, accounting for >90% of all fire-use instances. We show how human fire use is closely linked to land user intentions, with distinct fire regimes emerging from differing biomes and levels of economic development. We highlight gaps in the literature, the limitations of spatially-coarse remote sensing data for studying anthropogenic fire regimes and discuss ongoing work to synthesise understanding of human fire suppression behaviours and traditional fire knowledge.

Abstract Information

This abstract is already part of a session. View the session here.

To access contact information login