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La historia del fuego y su relación con el clima

EUA. Tel 201206(98103):732-7824.

ABSTRACT Resumen Para entender los efectos del clima sobre el fuego tenemos que consi-derar no sólo los registros meteorológicos y de incendios recientes, sino también los patrones históricos presentes antes de la influencia del manejo de los ecosistemas y de otras actividades humanas en el siglo XX. En este trabajo se presenta un resumen de dos métodos para identificar las relaciones entre los incendios y el clima, así como los resultados de algunos investigadores acerca de este tema. Los estu-dios de la historia del fuego pueden ser una importante fuente de in-formación, tanto en lo referente a los pronósticos de los efectos del cambio climático como en el manejo de los regímenes del fuego. La aplicación de los métodos de la historia del fuego ha permitido obtener relaciones coherentes entre los patrones espaciales y temporales de los incendios y la variabilidad climática, la sequía, y los patrones semi-periódicos. Durante el Holoceno, la frecuencia del fuego fue más corta cuando el clima fue más seco y cálido. Los estudios de árboles quema-dos sugieren que el clima controla la frecuencia del fuego y la superfi-cie quemada en escalas temporales anuales y por década. La relación entre la sequía y la superficie quemada se manifiesta en muchos ecosistemas, a pesar de que los efectos de las condiciones antecedentes son variables de un sistema a otro. Una tarea para el futuro es entender los patrones espaciales a grandes escalas, para que se puedan antici- Abstract In order to understand the effects of climate on fire, we need to con-sider not only recent fires and meteorological records, but also histori-cal patterns that predate the influence of management on ecosystems and other human activities in the 20 th century. This paper presents a review of the methods for identifying fire-climate relationships in terms of the results of numerous researchers in this area. Fire-history stud-ies can be an important source of information, both for predicting the effects of climatic change and understanding the effects of manage-ment on fire regimes. The application of fire-history methods enables us to see coherent relationships between spatial and temporal pat-terns of fire and climatic variability, drought, and quasi-periodic cli-matic patterns. During the Holocene, fires were more frequent when climate was dry and warm. Studies of fire-scarred trees suggest that climate controls both fire frequency and area burned, at temporal and decadal scales. The relationship between drought and area burned appears in numerous ecosystems, despite the differential effects of antecedent conditions from one ecosystem to the next. A task for the future is to understand spatial patterns at broad scales, in order to an-ticipate new fire regimes in different ecosystems and their repercus-sions for management and conservation.

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