Landscape-based fire scenarios and fire types in the Ayllón massif (Central Mountain Range, Spain), 19th and 20th centuries

C.R. Sequeira, C. Montiel-Molina, F.C. Rego

Abstract


Wildfires have been a major landscape disturbance factor throughout history in inland mountain areas of Spain. This paper aims to understand the interaction of fire regimes and landscape dynamics during the last two centuries within a socio-spatial context. The study area selected for this historical and spatial analysis is the Ayllón massif, in the Central Mountain Range. The theoretical background used to identify the driving forces of fire regime changes over the 19th and 20th centuries in this mountain area includes landscape-based fire scenarios and fire-type concepts. Both concepts have been addressed in recent studies from a spatial planning and fire management approach in an attempt to understand current fire landscapes and wildfire risk. However, this is the first time that these concepts have been applied to show that both spatial and temporal scales are crucial for an understanding of the current wildfire panorama, and that fire history related to landscape dynamics is fundamental in socio-spatial differences in fire regimes.

Four variables (fire history, land use, population and settlement system, and forest management) were assessed to define historical landscape-based fire scenarios, and three fire feature variables (fire extent, fire cause, and spatial distribution pattern) were considered to define historical fire-types. We found that the non-linear evolution of fire regimes during the 19th and 20th centuries was determined by fire-type changes according to landscape dynamics. Moreover, population and forest management have been the main driving forces of fire regime tipping points or pyrotransitions. This study validates the hypothesis that fire regime changes are the result of the interaction of fire history and landscape dynamics.


Keywords


fire regime; historical wildfires; land use; Spain; pyrogeography

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18172/cig.3796

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