Long-term potential for fires in estimates of the occurrence of savannas in the tropics
Version of Record online: 14 SEP 2007
© 2007 The Authors
Global Ecology and Biogeography
Volume 17, Issue 2, pages 222–235, March 2008
How to Cite
Cardoso, M. F., Nobre, C. A., Lapola, D. M., Oyama, M. D. and Sampaio, G. (2008), Long-term potential for fires in estimates of the occurrence of savannas in the tropics. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 17: 222–235. doi: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2007.00356.x
- Issue online: 14 SEP 2007
- Version of Record online: 14 SEP 2007
- dry forest;
- vegetation model
Aim This study aims to improve the formulation and results of the Brazilian Center for Weather Forecasting and Climate Studies Potential Vegetation Model (CPTEC-PVM) by developing a new parameterization for the long-term occurrence of fire in regions of potential savannas in the tropics. Compared with the relatively slow processes of carbon uptake and growth in vegetation, fast mortality and biomass consumption by fires may favour grasses and reduce tree coverage.
Location The tropics.
Methods For finding large-scale relationships between fires and other environmental factors, we made two main simplifying assumptions. First, lightning is the most important source of ignition for natural fires. Second, over continental areas in the tropics, lightning is mainly related to the zonal flux of moisture transport.
Results The parameterization of fire occurrence was built based on a simple empirical relationship, combining information on mean and intra-annual variance of the zonal wind.
Main conclusions The implementation of this new relationship improved the formulation and the results of the CPTEC-PVM. As a result of this new parameter, the accuracy of the model in allocating the correct vegetation (seasonal forests) instead of savannas for large regions in India and Southeast Asia is now substantially higher than in previous studies.