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Climate change and altered fire regimes: Impacts on plant populations, species, and ecosystems in both hemispheres

Harvey, B.J. and Enright, N.J.ORCID: 0000-0003-2979-4505 (2022) Climate change and altered fire regimes: Impacts on plant populations, species, and ecosystems in both hemispheres. Plant Ecology, 223 . pp. 699-709.

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Extreme fire seasons in both hemispheres in 2019 and 2020 have highlighted the strong link between climate warming and altered fire regimes. While shifts in fire regimes alone can drive profound changes in plant populations, communities, and ecosystems, the direct effects of warming climate conditions can impose added stress on key demographic processes prior to and immediately following fire. Altered survival-, growth-, and reproductive- rates in periods between fires, coupled with post-fire recruitment failure from increasingly stressful environmental conditions (including both heatwave and drought) can pose serious threats for conservation in fire-adapted ecosystems worldwide, raising concerns of ecosystem conversion and state change. In this special issue, a collection of 11 papers from fire-prone ecosystems in both hemispheres documents key insights into how changes are unfolding—and mechanisms underpinning such changes—across a diverse range of species and ecosystems. Here, we synthesize this work that uses latitudinal observational surveys, experiments, and simulation modeling to understand how climate warming and altered fire regimes are reshaping our planet. We place these studies in the context of broader advances, and highlight additional research directions to uncover how altered fire regimes, fires interacting with other disturbances, and pre-and post-fire demographic processes can erode resilience in a warming climate.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Publisher: Springer Verlag
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