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Ecological responses to El Niño-induced surface fires in central Brazilian Amazonia: management implications for flammable tropical forests.

Barlow, Jos and Peres, Carlos A. (2004) Ecological responses to El Niño-induced surface fires in central Brazilian Amazonia: management implications for flammable tropical forests. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B - Biological Sciences, 367 (1443). pp. 367-380.

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Abstract

Over the past 20 years the combined effects of El Niño-induced droughts and land-use change have dramatically increased the frequency of fire in humid tropical forests. Despite the potential for rapid ecosystem alteration and the current prevalence of wildfire disturbance, the consequences of such fires for tropical forest biodiversity remain poorly understood. We provide a pan-tropical review of the current state of knowledge of these fires, and include data from a study in a seasonally dry terra firme forest of central Brazilian Amazonia. Overall, this study supports predictions that rates of tree mortality and changes in forest structure are strongly linked to burn severity. The potential consequences for biomass loss and carbon emissions are explored. Despite the paucity of data on faunal responses to tropical forest fires, some trends are becoming apparent; for example, large canopy frugivores and understorey insectivorous birds appear to be highly sensitive to changes in forest structure and composition during the first 3 years after fires. Finally, we appraise the management implications of fires and evaluate the viability of techniques and legislation that can be used to reduce forest flammability, prevent anthropogenic ignition sources from coming into contact with flammable forests and aid the post-fire recovery process.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B - Biological Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords: Forest Biomass ; Carbon ; Birds ; Large Vertebrates ; Forest Regeneration ; Phase-Shift
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 10372
Deposited By: Dr Jos Barlow
Deposited On: 11 Jul 2008 16:56
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2013 10:50
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/10372

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