Articles | Volume 9, issue 8
Biogeosciences, 9, 3003–3012, 2012
Biogeosciences, 9, 3003–3012, 2012

Research article 08 Aug 2012

Research article | 08 Aug 2012

Separating agricultural and non-agricultural fire seasonality at regional scales

B. I. Magi1, S. Rabin2, E. Shevliakova2, and S. Pacala2 B. I. Magi et al.
  • 1University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Geography and Earth Sciences Department, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
  • 2Princeton University, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton, New Jersey, USA

Abstract. The timing and length of burning seasons in different parts of the world depend on climate, land-cover characteristics, and human activities. In this study, global burned area estimates are used in conjunction with global gridded distributions of agricultural land-cover types (defined as the sum of cropland and pasture area) to separate the seasonality of agricultural burning practices from that of non-agricultural fire. The results presented in this study show that agricultural and non-agricultural land experience broadly different fire seasonality patterns that are not always linked to climate conditions. We highlight these differences on a regional basis, examining variations in both agricultural land cover and associated cultural practices to help explain our results. While we discuss two land-cover categories, the methods can be generalized to derive seasonality for any number of land uses or cover types. This will be useful as global fire models evolve to be fully interactive with land-use and land-cover change in the next generation of Earth system models.

Final-revised paper