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TO BUILD A FIRE: CHANGING FIRE REGIMES AND GLOBAL FIRE GOVERNANCE AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR LOCAL COMMUNITY FIRE PRACTITIONERS

Francisco Seijo
Middlebury C.V. Starr School in Spain
Francisco Seijo
Middlebury C.V. Starr School in Spain
Open Panel

Abstract

Landscape fire regimes in the Earth system are believed to be changing at a rapid pace. These changes will have important environmental consequences since fires are not only one of the main drivers of deforestation in the tropics but also a key ecological process in many flammable ecosystems with significant effects on carbon sequestration, soil fertility, biodiversity, regional weather patterns and global climate patterns. One of the leading causes of these transformations, this article argues, has been the disruption of the pre-industrial anthropogenic fire regimes (PIAFRs) that helped conform to varying degrees many of the world’s anthropogenic biomes. State led industrialization policies, agricultural modernization and fire exclusion have transformed the local communities that generated PIAFRs in the past and by doing so have, in all probability, brought on many of the present fire regime transformations we are observing. These changes, in turn, are likely to pose significant problems for global fire governance and local community fire practices based on traditional ecological knowledge particularly in light of the need to adaptat to anthropogenic climate change.