Simulating climate change impacts on fire frequency and vegetation dynamics in a Mediterranean‐type ecosystem

Année de publication



Global Change Biology 8 423 437 5


The impacts of climate change on Mediterranean‐type ecosystems may result from complex interactions between direct effects on water stress and subsequent modifications in flammability and fire regime leading to changes in standing biomass and plant species composition. We analysed these interrelations through a simulation approach combining scenarios of climate change developed from GCM results and a multispecies functional model for vegetation dynamics, SIERRA. A fire risk procedure based on weekly estimates of vegetation water stress has been implemented. Using climate data from 1960 to 1997, simulations of a typical maquis woodland community have been performed as baseline and compared with two climate scenarios: a change in the rainfall regime alone, and changes in both rainfall and air temperature. Climate changes are defined by an increase in temperature, particularly in summer, and a change in the rainfall pattern leading to a decrease in low rainfall events, and an increase in intense rainfall events. The results illustrate the lack of drastic changes in the succession process, but highlight modifications in the water budget and in the length of the drought periods. Water stress lower than expected regarding statistics on the current climate is simulated, emphasizing a long‐term new equilibrium of vegetation to summer drought but with a higher sensibility to rare events. Regarding fire frequency, climate changes tend to decrease the time interval between two successive fires from 20 to 16 years for the maquis shrubland and from 72 to 62 years in the forested stages. This increase in fire frequency leads to shrub‐dominated landscapes, which accentuates the yield of water by additional deep drainage and runoff.

Type de publication
  • journal
Type de document
  • article
Classification - Inist-CNRS
  • 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
  • 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
  • 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
Classification - Scopus
  • 1 - Physical Sciences
  • 2 - Environmental Science
  • 3 - General Environmental Science
  • 3 - Ecology
  • 3 - Environmental Chemistry
  • 3 - Global and Planetary Change
Classification - Science Metrix
  • 1 - natural sciences
  • 2 - biology
  • 3 - ecology
Classification - Clarivate Analytics (Subject Category)
  • 1 - science
  • 2 - environmental sciences
  • 2 - ecology
  • 2 - biodiversity conservation
Termes extraits

biomass; ecosystem; current climate; fire frequency; maquis; rambal; global change biology; moreno; climate change; blackwell science; ecology; oecologia; unedo; seedling; arbutus; water stress index; trabaud; understorey; scenario; lifespan; shrubland; modelling; pinus; arbutus unedo; germination; cistus; mouillot; cohort; castell; arborea; erica; rainfall; lepart; terradas; species composition; pinaster; simulation; community composition; climatic; shrublands; mesleard; swetnam; climate scenarios; erica arborea; water stress; regeneration; shrub; global change; water fluxes; pinus pinaster; vegetation; vegetation dynamics; vegetation science; solar radiation; fire risk; high maquis; mesleard lepart; time courses; climate changes; acta oecologia; fire events; mediterranean landscapes; successive fires; leaf lifespan; water content; forest ecology; forest fires; rainfall pattern; tree physiology; soil water content; water relations; cistus monspeliensis; primary production; bare soil; fire regime; delillis fontanella; soil water; fuel biomass; global; sierra; summer drought; forest research; vapour pressure deficit; greenhouse effect; ecosystem functions; canadian journal; fire occurrence; penuelas estiarte; castell terradas; dense forest; maquis shrubland; summer rainfall; summer rainfall amount; mediterranean basin; field capacity; water budget; forest fire research; leaf biomass; ecological modelling; rainfall regime; australian journal; large forest fires; direct effects; ecological studies; springer verlag; mediterranean; ecological; evaporation; drought; mediterranean maquis; population dynamics; mature individuals; potential evapotranspiration; indirect effects; larger variability; soil evaporation; leaf mass; total biomass; leaf area index; case study; swetnam betancourt; tree species; correia catarino; mcmurtrie wolf; mediterranean shrubs; same period; general pattern; daily rainfall; early stages; simulation model; mediterranean ecosystems; retention curve; water balance; international journal; equivalent week; leaf area; consecutive years; rainfall amount; soil water balance; seasonal changes; obligate seeders; stress period; maturity stage; same pattern; soil water availability; plant community; european climate support network; davis michaelsen; vazquez moreno; natural regeneration; interannual variability; mediterranean type ecosystems; water stress integral; spatial structure; carbon budget; rainfall events; soil layers; fire risk procedure; model years; climatic change; linear trends; simulation approach; quercus ilex; water resource research; ecological research; greenhouse conditions; international conference; gregory mitchell; rambal hoff; study site; global ecology; seedling dynamics; maritime pine; surface fire regimes; model parameters; annual rainfall; water availability; plant ecology; canopy; dynamics; transpiration; blackwell; climate

Entité nommée
Entité nommée - Emplacement géographique
  • Corsica
  • Europe
  • France
  • European Union
Entité nommée - Organisme
  • Blackwell Science Ltd
  • Hadley Center
  • Climate Prediction and Research of the UK Meteorological Office
  • European climate support network
Entité nommée - Personne
April Trees; Cm; Ea
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