Fires result from a number of interacting factors that occur at scales from global to local. Fire occurrence is closely linked to socioeconomics, and fire spread will depend on the previous factors plus fire fighting and other management measures. Socioeconomic drivers affect the global economy and, through it, the global and local climate and land use/land cover (LULC). Climate determines vegetation, fire danger, ignition sources and fire hazard and risk. Understanding the role of the various factors in determining fire regime at a given area is a challenge in its own right when the external boundary conditions are stable. However, that has not been the case during the second half of the XXth century. Further, changes in drivers are projected to continue happening during this century. Thus fire regime will likely be affected.
The strategy adopted in FUME to determine future fire regime and impacts is the following:
Documenting the recent past: We will assess how landscapes changed in the past and what influence these changes had on past fires in interaction with climate. Required are models of land-use land cover change and fire risk that can be projected under future scenarios of change.
Scenarios of change and future impacts: We will set up scenarios of change (socioeconomics, land-use and land-cover, vegetation and climate) following IPCC methodologies, including the forthcoming scenarios for IPCC-AR5. With these, and aided with results from 1, an assessment of the likely impacts on fire regime will be made. Modeling, complemented with field experiments, will evaluate future impacts on fire and on vegetation and landscapes. The assessment will comprehend current-, as well as new fire-areas, wild-land areas and the rural-urban interface (RUI). Extreme climatology will be a particular focus.
Adapting to change: Once the range of future conditions are known, the capacity to cope with them will be evaluated focusing on how future risks can be reduced through preventive or reactive measures. The economic costs and policy implications of the expected changes will be analyzed.
Organizing the research and insuring the transfer of knowledge: FUME will use large amounts of data. This requires building a common data base. Further, a network of sites will be organized for model testing and validation. Bridging the gap of knowledge transfer, particularly with managers, more so from N. Africa, will be realized by training and specific actions with users.
The ultimate goal of FUME will be to provide tools for better quantification of future impacts on fire regime, and on landscapes as a result of climate and social en economic changes. Based on them we will assess the capacity to cope with fire under global change and to identify future vulnerabilities of ecosystems and societies.
To better achieve its goals, FUME is divided into modules, work packages (WP) and tasks.
Module 1: Understanding the past
WP 1.1 Recent landscape change and fire regime
WP 1.2 Fire-climate-landscape interactions
WP 1.3 Attributing fire activity to changes in climate and socioeconomics
Module 2: Projecting the future
WP 2.1 Scenario development
WP 2.2 Future impacts on fire risk/regime and landscapes of climate and socioeconomic changes
WP 2.3 Impacts of climate and weather extremes
WP 2.4 Impacts at the Wildland-Urban interface
Module 3: Adapting to change
WP 3.1 Managing risks under future climate and multiple extremes
WP 3.2 Managing and restoring landscapes under change and uncertainty
WP 3.3 Understanding societal response to future fire risk conditions
Module 4: Integration, knowledge transfer and management
WP 4.1 Data
WP 4.2 Site network
WP 4.3 Training
WP 4.4 Outreach
WP 4.5 Management