We use cookies on this site. By browsing our site you agree to our use of cookies. Close this message Find out more

Home > Earth Sciences home > Research > Global Environmental Change > Fire as an Earth System Process
More in this section Global Environmental Change

Fire as an Earth System Process


This research concerns the immediate past, present and future of wildfires, their environmental effects and especially the role of fire in Earth Systems Processes. Research efforts concentrate on modern and ancient fires, their products (charcoal) and effects. This research is co-ordinated as part of the International Pyrogeography Research Group (led by David Bowman, Tasmainia). Fire systems over the past 20,000 years are being studied in the California Channel Islands with Nick Pinter (Southern Illinois University) and Scott Anderson (University of Northern Arizona). Work on recent fire systems has concentrated on fires in western USA and southern England. Wildfires are being interpreted from charcoal residues. Refelectance micrcroscopy on the charcoal is being used to interpret the temperature of surface fires. Together with Deborah Martin and John Moody (US Geological Survey) and Pete Robichaud (US Forestry Service) studies are being undertaken on the 2002 Hayman Fire of Colorado as well as the 2009 Taylor Fire in Arizona with Scott Anderson (Northern Arizona University) and the 2009 Jesuita Fire in California. In southern England heathland fires are being investigated with Margaret Collinson (RHUL).

Patchy surface fire through coniferous forest
Extensive charcoal from fire through heather Heathland,
Thursley Nature Reserve, Surrey, 2006


Staff: Funding:
  • National Science Foundation (USA)
  • National Geographic





Comment on this page

Did you find the information you were looking for? Is there a broken link or content that needs updating? Let us know so we can improve the page.

Note: If you need further information or have a question that cannot be satisfied by this page, please call our switchboard on +44 (0)1784 434455.

This window will close when you submit your comment.

Add Your Feedback