International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH FRONT

Assessment of fire selectivity in relation to land cover and topography: a comparison between Southern European countries

Sandra Oliveira A D , Francisco Moreira B , Roberto Boca C , Jesús San-Miguel-Ayanz C and José M. C. Pereira A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, Environment and Land, Technical University of Lisbon, Tapada da Ajuda, PT-1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal.

B School of Agriculture, Centre of Applied Ecology, ‘Prof Baeta Neves’ Research Department, Technical University of Lisbon, Tapada da Ajuda, PT-1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal.

C European Commission - Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Forest Resources and Climate Unit, Via E. Fermi 2749, I-21027 Ispra (VA), Italy.

D Corresponding author. Email: sisoliveira@gmail.com

International Journal of Wildland Fire 23(5) 620-630 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF12053
Submitted: 31 March 2012  Accepted: 27 November 2012   Published: 8 March 2013

Abstract

Land cover distribution is one of the factors that influence fire behaviour and its consequences in the landscape. The relation between land cover type and fire was investigated at a broad scale, in order to analyse land cover differences in fire proneness. The selection ratio for nine different land cover categories was calculated for the fire perimeters mapped in Southern Europe between 2000 and 2008. The results obtained were then compared per country and region. The fire proneness of topographic classes and its potential association with land cover types were also assessed. At a broad scale, shrublands and grasslands were the most preferred by fire, whereas artificial surfaces and agricultural areas were less fire prone. Forests showed intermediate values of selection ratio. Principal components and cluster analysis identified three regions with significant differences among them: the Mediterranean area, the Balkans and Turkey–Cyprus. Slopes >25% and with a north aspect were also less susceptible to burning. The identification of common land cover and topographic characteristics allows for the application of common management strategies in Southern Europe, coupled with particular measures adjusted to the conditions that are country- and region-specific.

Additional keywords: burnt areas, fire proneness, selection ratio.


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