Indexed on: 01 Jul '98Published on: 01 Jul '98Published in: Climatic change
Investigations of the ecological, atmospheric chemical, and climatic impacts of contemporary fires in tropical vegetation have received increasing attention during the last 10 years. Little is known, however, about the impacts of climate changes on tropical vegetation and wildland fires. This paper summarizes the main known interactions of fire, vegetation, and atmosphere. Examples of predictive models on the impacts of climate change on the boreal and temperate zones are given in order to highlight the possible impacts on the tropical forest and savanna biomes and to demonstrate parameters that need to be involved in this process. Response of tropical vegetation to fire is characterized by degradation towards xerophytic and pyrophytic plant communities dominated by grasses and fire-tolerant tree and bush invaders. The potential impacts of climate change on tropical fire regimes are investigated using a GISS GCM-based lightning and fire model and the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse Gas-Induced Climate Change (MAGICC).