In the European region of the Mediterranea Basin there was an abrupt fire regime shift in such a way that fires increased in annual frequency (doubled) and area burned (by about an order of magnitude). The main driver of this shift was the increase in fuel amount and continuity due to rural depopulation (vegetation and fuel build-up after farm abandonment) suggesting that fires were fuel-limited previous to the shift. Climatic conditions are poorly related to wildfire activity during the pre-shift period and strongly related during the to post-shift period, suggesting that fires are currently less fuel limited and more drought-driven than before. Thus, the fire regime shift implies also a shift in the main driver for fire activity. This shift was dated in the 1970s in Spain but this may varies in other countries.
Type of regime shift
- Fire regime shift
- Mediterranean shrubs (egFynbos)
- Small-scale subsistence crop cultivation
Spatial scale of the case study
- Sub-continental/regional (e.g. southern Africa, Amazon basin)
Continent or Ocean
- Mediterranean Basin
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Pausas J.G. & Fernández-Muñoz S. 2012. Fire regime changes in the Western Mediterranean Basin: from fuel-limited to drought-driven fire regime. Climatic Change 110: 215-226.
Pausas J.G. & Fernández-Muñoz S. 2012. Fire regime changes in the Western Mediterranean Basin: from fuel-limited to drought-driven fire regime. Climatic Change 110: 215-226. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10584-011-0060-6