IoE Fellow Dave McWethy Publishes New Research on Fires in South-Central Chile

Dave McWethy

Dr. Dave McWethy, an Assistant Research Professor in the MSU Department of Earth Sciences and Fellow of the Institute on Ecosystems, has published new research on fires in south-central Chile that examines some of the factors contributing to these fires, including climatic variables and human activity.

From MSU News Service: “...[W]ildfires in south-central Chile and the western U.S. are affected by many of the same conditions, but the main difference is that native forests in the western U.S. are well-adapted to fire. In Chile, most native forests in the central and southern regions are not. To better understand the Chilean fires, the researchers compared satellite information with records from the Chilean Forest Service for 2001 through 2017. They studied eight types of vegetation as well as climate conditions, elevation, slope and population density across a wide range of latitudes in Chile. 'Now we have compelling evidence that after climate, landscape composition is crucial in determining fire regimes. In particular, exotic forest plantations need to be managed to purposely reduce fire hazard,' [Dr. Aníbal] Pauchard said. 'Which forestry species we plant and how we manage them matters in terms of fire frequency and intensity.”

In addition to McWethy and co-author Pauchard, a professor at the University of Concepción in Chile, the research team consisted of other Chilean and American researchers. The full study was published by PLOS ONE and can be found online

 

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