Wednesday, September 1, 2010

US universities partner on study of fire and climate

Montana State University News: Faculty at Montana State University, the University of Colorado, the University of Idaho and collaborators at the USDA Forest Service received a $3.85 million grant to study fire and climate change in sensitive forests in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. The National Science Foundation is funding the project, which starts today, through their Partnerships in International Research and Education (PIRE) program.

"Our goal is to better understand fire as a global process, one that is driven by changes in climate and human activities around the world," said Cathy Whitlock, an earth sciences professor at MSU and lead principal investigator on the grant. "Fire is the same everywhere -- it threatens human health and livelihoods as well as vital ecosystem processes and services. It makes sense to look at fire in a variety of settings, because the more we can understand and predict fire occurrence and its effects, the better we can adapt and plan for it."

The proposed research studies conducted in the U.S. and abroad, will help inform fire management decisions and educate the next generation of fire scientists and managers worldwide. "We will be looking at how climate change and humans have altered fire activity in areas with different climates, fuels and human activities, as points of comparison," said Whitlock. "One thing is clear - the frequency and severity of fires have increased around the world and this is considered to be one of the signs of global climate change."

…The five-year project, entitled "WildFIRE PIRE: Wildfire feedbacks and consequences of altered fire regimes in the face of climate and land-use change in Tasmania, New Zealand, and the western U.S.," has educational, outreach and research components….

"Elk Bath" – A wildfire in the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana, United States, shot by John Colgan, USDA

1 comment:

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