1932

Abstract

Fire is an integral part of the Earth System and humans have skillfully used fire for millennia. Yet human activities are scaling up and reinforcing each other in ways that are reshaping fire patterns across the planet. We review these changes using the concept of the fire regime, which describes the timing, location, and type of fires. We then explore the consequences of fire regime changes on the biological, chemical, and physical processes that sustain life on Earth. Anthropogenic drivers such as climate change, land use, and invasive species are shifting fire regimes and creating environments unlike any humanity has previously experienced. Although human exposure to extreme wildfire events is increasing, we highlight how knowledge of fire regimes can be mobilized to achieve a wide range of goals, from reducing carbon emissions to promoting biodiversity and human well-being. A fire regime perspective is critical to navigating toward a sustainable future—a better Anthropocene.

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2023-11-13
2024-06-14
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