Adapting to climate change and variability: Tropical forests and wildfire

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Fire is part of the natural ecological processes in tropical forests, and is also widely used as a tool in managing forests. But as the climate of the world changes and becomes hotter and climate events like droughts become more extreme, many tropical forest areas could be impacted by an increase in fire activity.
In this presentation, CIFOR scientist Hety Herawati gives an overview of the interaction between climate change, wildfire and tropical forests, and gives a number of recommendations for helping both people and forests adapt to a future in which fire danger is increased. She gave this presentation at the IUFRO Conference on Forests for People held on 22-24 May 2012 in Alpbach, Austria, which was attended by approximately 200 participants from around 40 countries.

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Adapting to climate change and variability: Tropical forests and wildfire

  1. 1. Adapting to Climate Change and Variability: Tropical Forests and Wildfire Hety Herawati- CIFOR
  2. 2. Tropical Forests§  44  %  of  the  world  forests  are  tropical  forests   (1.768  billion  hectares,    Grainger  2008)  §  They  are  most  species  rich  ecosystem  (Gentry  1992)  §  Produce  Fmber  and  non-­‐Fmber  products    §  Regulate  water  and  micro  climate  §  MiFgate  climate  change:  sequestering  carbon  
  3. 3. Fire in the TropicsFire  §  has  been  part  of  ecological  process  of  forests  §  has  been  used  widely  as  a  tool  e.g.  to:   •  Maintain  savanna  woodland  ecosystem     •  Reduce  catastrophic  fires     •  Clear  land  e.g.  for  converFng  forests     •  Maintain  grassland  for  livestock   •  Extract  forest  products   By Heru Santoso
  4. 4. Climate Change§  Climate  is  changing.  IPCC  AR4:  At  the  end  of  the  21st  century,   CC  may  cause  :   •  Air  temperature  increase    of  1.8  oC  (B1)  –  4.0  oC  (A1FI),   compared  to  that  in  1980-­‐1999     •  PrecipitaFon  change   •  Climate  extreme  events  (e.g.  hurricane  &  El  Nino)  characterisFcs     to  change  
  5. 5. By Alain Compost Climate Change and Forest FireClimate  change  may  affect  forest  fire  §  Directly,  e.g.     •  Through  temperature,  precipitaFon,  and  natural  igniFon  changes  §  Indirectly,  e.g.     •  Through  climate  induced  vegetaFon  changes    
  6. 6. Climate Change Impacts on Wildfire in the Tropics (1) Climate  change  may  increase  fire  acFvity,  for  example:   Global:  Overall  CC  may  cause  fire  acFvity  increase  e.g.   fire  occurrence  and  area  burned  increase  (Flannigan  et  al.  2009)     South  America   §  Fire  hazard  may  increase  in  2070-­‐2100    (Liu  et  al.  2010).  e.g.   Amazon:     •  50  %  of  the  forest  may  have  higher  fire  danger   by  2080  (Golding  and  Be_s  2008)   •  may  be  more  suscepFble  to  burning  more   frequently  (Cochrane  and  Laurance  2008)   •  may  experience  fire  probability  increase  in   2070-­‐2099  (Krawchuk  et  al.  2009)   Eastern  South  America:   •  may  experience  fire  probability  increase  in   2070-­‐2099  (Krawchuk  et  al.  2009)  By Yayat Ruchiat
  7. 7. Climate Change Impacts on Wildfire in the Tropics (2) Africa   §  Some  parts  of  Sudanian,  West  and  Central  ,  and   Eastern  Africa  may  experience  fire  probability   increase  in  2070-­‐2099  (Krawchuk  et  al.  2009)   §  Some  parts  of  West  and  Southern  Africa  may  have   higher  fire  danger  in  2070-­‐2100  (Liu  et  al.  2010)   Asia   §  Some  parts  of  South  Asia  and  Southeast  Asia  Insular   may  experience  fire  probability  increase  in   2070-­‐2099  (Krawchuk  et  al.  2009)  e.g.   o  SimulaFon  at  2  sites  in  Indonesia  shows  that   fire  hazard  may  increase  in  2070-­‐2100  (HerawaF   and  Santoso  2011)  Nevertheless,  in  spite  of  CC,  there  will  be  regions  with  no  fire  acFvity  change  and  areas  with  fire  acFvity  decreases  (Flannigan  et  al.  2009;  Krawchuk  et  al.  2009)  
  8. 8. Non Climatic Drivers of Fire§  Direct  causes,  e.g.  from       •  IntenFonal  uses  of  fire  e.g.  for:   o  clearing  land   o  harvesFng  forest  products   •  Escaped  fire  §  Indirect  causes,  e.g.     •  Infrastructure  development  e.g.  road   and  se_lement  developments   •  Forest  fragmentaFons  e.g.  by  logging   and  agriculture  acFviFes.     •  Draining  peat  swamp  e.g.  for  oil  palm   and  Fmber  plantaFons   •  Land  use  and  ownership  and  social   conflicts    
  9. 9. By Patrice Levang Adapting to Future Fire Danger Increase (1)§  Be6er  land  use  planning   •  E.g.  allocaFng  lands  in  or  near  forested  lands  §  Increase  forest  capacity  to  adapt  to  climate  change  and  wildfire   Climate  change  =>  addiFonal  stressors  to  forest  e.g.  unfavorable   environment  for  forests.  Forest  dieback  =>more  prone  to  fire.   •  Promote  connected  landscapes   •  Increase  species  redundancy     •  Plant/re-­‐plant  with  mix,  less  flammable  &  more  fire  resistant  species     •  Use  seed  sources  and  species  that  can  adapt  to  future  condiFons    
  10. 10. Adapting to Future Fire Danger Increase (2)§  Manage  fuel  availability  and  flammability   •  Minimise  anthropogenic  disturbances  impacts  e.g.  forest  fragmentaFon  &  logging     •  Intensify  liana  removal   •  Regular  forest  and  understory  thinning     •  PracFce    salvage  logging   •  Suppress  invasive  &  fire  resistant  veg.  species  e.g.  Imperata  &  Gorse   •  Tree  species  and  composiFon  change  §  Enhance  wildfire  prevenCon  and  control                  FAO  (2007):  In  many  tropical  countries,  there  is  insufficient  wildfire  prevenFon                    knowledge,  capacity  in  wildfire  detecFon,  and  suppression  resources,  especially  in  rural   areas.   •  Other  sectors  need  to  be  involved  in  addressing  fire   •  Prevent  igniFon  sources  reach  fire  prone  forest  e.g.  wider  fire  breaks  and  reduce   fire  use  in  agriculture     •  Improve  fire-­‐fighFng  equipment,  knowledge  and  skills  
  11. 11. Adapting to Future Fire Danger Increase (3)§  Improve  policy  &  its  implementaCon     •  Improve  rule  system  in  governing  the  use  of  fire.     The  exisFng  policies  and  legislaFons  usually  criminalise  the  use  of  fire     and  don’t  consider  the  importance  of  fire  for  people’s  livelihoods.   •  Make  legislaFons  work   It  is  important  to  collaborate  with  all  stakeholders.  There  are  many   examples  of  success  stories  of  involving  local  communiFes,  e.g.   o   Namibia:  reduced  burned  areas  by  54%  and  decrease  fire  incidences  by   70%  annually     o   Kalimantan,  Indonesia:  areas  under  community  control  experience  less   burning   o   Central  America:  1.5  mill  hectares  of  forest  burned,  almost  none  burned  at   community  managed  forests     •  Improve  law  enforcement  
  12. 12. Adapting to Future Fire Danger Increase (4)§  Enhance  access  to  knowledge  and  informaCon  on  forests,  forest   management,  and  climate  change  adaptaCon   •  Mainstream  adaptaFon  into  forestry  sector  in  the  tropics                                                                             (e.g.  Increase  awareness:  enhancing  adaptaFve  capability  of    forest)     •  Improve  access  to  informaFon  on  climate  impacts  on  wildfire  &  adapt.  measures   o  A  number  of  tools  available  for  assessing  future  forest  fire  hazards  e.g.  vegetaFon  and     fire  related  models  (LANDCLIM,  Glob-­‐FIRM,  MC1,  FDRS),  and  remote  sensing  (NOAA  AVHRR,   MODIS,  ERS  SAR)   o  Many  insFtuFons  have  produced  guidelines  and  informaFon  related  to  forest  and  fire   management,  and  climate  change  adaptaFon,  e.g.     ⁻  FSC,  ITTO  &  CIFOR    =>    C&I  Sustainable  Forest  Management)   ⁻  ITTO  &  FAO    =>    Guidelines    for  managing  FF   ⁻  UNDP    =  >    AdaptaFon  Policy  Framework   •  Explore  and  exchange  local  knowledge  and  experiences  on  nature  and  fire   management,  e.g.   o  Ghana:  CommuniFes  pracFce  fire  management  e.g.  fire  break  around  farms  and   forests   o  Dayak  tribe-­‐Indonesia  has  customary  laws  for  using  fire.    §  Etc.  
  13. 13. Thank youEmail:h.herawati@cgiar.org

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