Recent Large-Scale Fires in Boreal and Tropical Forests
Hokkadio University, Kita-ku N13 W8, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-8628, Japan
One of the objectives of this review of recent trends in fires in boreal and tropical forests is to raise reader awareness of wilderness fires as a type of disaster mainly caused by human activity. Fires occurring in different vegetative areas are usually named for the vegetation in which they occur, e.g., forest fires, bush fires, savanna fires, and peat or bog fires. The term “wildland fire” represents all such fires. Despite the widespread occurrence of such fires, the International Association of Wildland Fires (IAWF) is the only international association covering vegetation conflagrations. This review focuses on forest and peat fires in boreal and tropical forests, first, because forests in these areas have accumulated large amounts of carbon in their forest floors. And, second, because such fires usually are large-scale and emit large amounts of carbon oxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases such as methane (CH4).