A global synthesis of fire effects on ecosystem services of forests and woodlands

Jose V. Roces-Díaz*, Cristina Santín, Jordi Martínez-Vilalta, Stefan H. Doerr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Fire is a primary disturbance in the world’s forested ecosystems and its impacts are projected to increase in many regions due to global climate change. Fire impacts have been studied for decades, but integrative assessments of its effects on multiple ecosystem services (ES) across scales are rare. We conducted a global analysis of persistent (>1 year) fire effects on eight ES reported over the past 30 years, evaluating qualitative and quantitative information from 207 peer-reviewed studies. Significant effects were predominantly positive for “water provision” and negative for “water quality”, “climate regulation”, and “erosion control”; for “food provision” and “soil fertility”, no overall significant effects emerged; and for “recreation” or “pollination”, data were insufficient. These effects were generally short-lived (1–2 years) and were more common after wildfires than after prescribed burns. However, available data were primarily derived from only a few countries/biomes and extended only over short time periods, highlighting the need for future research focusing on underrepresented regions and biomes, more extensive timeframes, and multiple ES.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted in press - 2021

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