Wildfires in Chile: A review
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This paper reviews the literature examining the wildfire phenomenon in Chile. Since ancient times, Chile's wildfires have shaped the country's landscape, but today, as in many other parts of the world, the fire regime - pattern, frequency and intensity has grown at an alarming rate. In 2014,> 8000 fires were responsible for burning c. 130,000 ha, making it the worst year in Chile's recent history. The reasons for this increase appear to be the increment in the area planted with flammable species; the rejection of these landscape modifications on the part of local communities that target these plantations in arson attacks; and, the adoption of intensive forest management practices resulting in the accumulation of a high fuel load. These trends have left many native species in a precarious situation and forest plantation companies under considerable financial pressure. An additional problem is posed by fires at the wildland urban interface (WUI), threatening those inhabitants that live in Chile's most heavily populated cities. The prevalence of natural fires in Chile; the relationship between certain plant species and fire in terms of seed germination strategies and plant adaptation; the relationship between fire and invasive species; and, the need for fire prevention systems and territorial plans that include fire risk assessments are some of the key aspects discussed in this article. Several of the questions raised will require further research, including just how fire-dependent the ecosystems in Chile are, how the forest at the WUI can be better managed to prevent human and material damage, and how best to address the social controversy that pits the Mapuche population against the timber companies.
Artículo de publicación ISI
Cita del ítemGlobal and Planetary Change 146 (2016) 152–161
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