A global behavioural model of human fire use and management: WHAM! v1.0

Perkins, Oliver; Kasoar, Matthew; Voulgarakis, Apostolos; Smith, Cathy; Mistry, Jay; Millington, James D. A.

Fire is an integral ecosystem process and a major natural source of vegetation disturbance globally. Yet at the same time, humans use and manage fire in diverse ways and for a huge range of purposes. Therefore, it is perhaps unsurprising that a central finding of the first Fire Model Intercomparison Project was simplistic representation of humans is a substantial shortcoming in the fire modules of dynamic global vegetation models (DGVMs). In response to this challenge, we present a novel, global geospatial model that seeks to capture the diversity of human–fire interactions. Empirically grounded with a global database of anthropogenic fire impacts, WHAM! (the Wildfire Human Agency Model) represents the underlying behavioural and land system drivers of human approaches to fire management and their impact on fire regimes. WHAM! is designed to be coupled with DGVMs (JULES-INFERNO in the current instance), such that human and biophysical drivers of fire on Earth, and their interactions, can be captured in process-based models for the first time. Initial outputs from WHAM! presented here are in line with previous evidence suggesting managed anthropogenic fire use is decreasing globally and point to land use intensification as the underlying reason for this phenomenon.

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Perkins, Oliver / Kasoar, Matthew / Voulgarakis, Apostolos / et al: A global behavioural model of human fire use and management: WHAM! v1.0. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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