Document Type : Original Article

Author

Department of Physical Geography and Problems of the Environmental Management, Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, room 35, Staromonetny lane 29, Moscow, Russia, 119017

Abstract

Regular wildfire supports balanced development of sclerophyll forests in Victoria (Australia), as well as, boreal forest in Alberta (Canada). Also, they are a major part of local Aboriginal culture in these regions and a means regulating ecological functions of flammable vegetation communities for improvement their productivity. Taking into consideration that burning is used as an effective tool for ecosystem management in Alberta and Victoria, it is relevant to assess impacts of fire practices on the environment and to find connections between fire spread and key factors determining scales and locations of burned areas. Basing on literary materials on fire practices, statistical data on wildfire cases occurring since 1980s, geospatial data on distribution of fire-prone plant communities’ locations, and on results of correlation analysis of fire cases with climatic, environmental, infrastructural, and social factors author reveals the following patterns: fires frequency depends on the landscape features; an increase in number of fire occurrences correlates with increase of dry periods duration (number of days); human settlements, where Aboriginal population reaches 50%, are subject to fires more frequent; the risk to the environment and settlements damage on small populated rural areas is higher, than on densely populated suburban and urban places. Reduction of out-of-control wildfire risk can be achieved through fire management practices directed to wildlife and biodiversity protection, considering these patterns.

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