Degradation of tropical forests in Colombia: impacts of fire
Vegetation fires have been a natural ecological process present for thousands of years in the tropics. They influence landscape structure, patterns and processes and have shaped today´s species composition and biological diversity. Fires have also been present as an anthropogenic disturbance as a management practice for land clearance or slash-and burn agriculture. Most current fires result from a combination of both local specific climatic and environmental conditions combined with human activity. Fires and other disturbances associated with land use change forest structure, increasing tree mortality, depleting canopy cover and impoverishing local biodiversity. Further adverse impacts on ecosystems services range from local (erosion, water runoff, etc) to regional (atmospheric chemistry modifications) to global climatic changes. These result from complex interactions and feedbacks between land use change which increases ignitions and also can lengthen the fire season. In addition, it is uncertain how regional drying may be linked to the drivers of global climate change. Tropical forests host the highest levels of biodiversity and maintain some of the greatest carbon stocks of all terrestrial ecosystems. Colombia is no exception, this country hosts a diversity of tropical forests that are rich in both C and species—but these ecosystems are threatened by increasing fires associated with land use and a more conducive climate for fire. To understand the drivers of forest flammability and fire-related carbon emissions we will establish a sampling network in three different types of forests affected by fire (Andean, Amazonia Lowland tropical humid, Orinoco gallery forests). We will also characterize the different fire regimes and severities by forest type with both field-based surveys and remote-sensing analysis and assess fuel availability and moisture through the dry season—key determinants of forest flammability. Fuel moisture is also a known potential source of uncertainty in biomass burning estimates.
Nombre de la convocatoria:Convocatoria externa
Modalidad:Convocatoria externa