Conditioning uncertainty in ecological models: Assessing the impact of fire management strategies

Josep Piñol, Marc Castellnou, Keith J. Beven

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A simple simulation model has been used to investigate whether large fires in Mediterranean regions are a result of extreme weather conditions or the cumulative effect of a policy of fire suppression over decades. The model reproduced the fire regime characteristics for a wide variety of regions of Mediterranean climate in California, France and Spain. The Generalised Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation (GLUE) methodology was used to assess the possibility of multiple model parameter sets being consistent with the available calibration data. The resulting set of behavioural models was used to assess uncertainty in the predictions. The results suggested that (1) for a given region, the total area burned is much the same whether suppression or prescribed fire policies are used or not; however fire suppression enhances fire intensity and prescribed burning reduces it; (2) the proportion of large fires can be reduced, but not eliminated, using prescribed fires, especially in areas which have the highest proportion of large fires. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-44
JournalEcological Modelling
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2007


  • Fire spread
  • Fire suppression
  • Fuel accumulation
  • Mediterranean
  • Paradox of extinction
  • Wildfires


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