22 Jun 2022
22 Jun 2022

Differentiating fire regimes and their biophysical drivers in Central Portugal

Rafaello Bergonse1, Sandra Oliveira1, José Luís Zêzere1, Francisco Moreira2, Paulo Flores Ribeiro3, Miguel Leal3, and José Manuel Lima e Santos3 Rafaello Bergonse et al.
  • 1Centre for Geographical Studies, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning and Associate Laboratory TERRA, Universidade de Lisboa. Rua Branca Edmée Marques, Cidade Universitária, 1600-276 Lisbon, Portugal
  • 2CIBIO – Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, Universidade do Porto. Campus de Vairão. Rua Padre Armando Quintas, nº 7, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal
  • 3Forest Research Centre, Instituto Superior de Agronomia and Associate Laboratory TERRA, Universidade de Lisboa. Edifício Prof. Azevedo Gomes, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa

Abstract. The spatial and temporal patterns of wildfires and their effects over a given area can be described using the concept of fire regime. Here, we characterize fire regimes Central Portugal and investigate the degree to which the differences between regimes are influenced by a set of biophysical drivers. Using civil parishes as units of analysis, we employ three complementary parameters to describe the fire regime over a reference period of 44 years (1975–2018): cumulative percentage of parish area burned, Gini concentration index of burned area over time, and area-weighted total number of wildfires. Cluster analysis is used to aggregate parishes into groups with similar fire regime based on these parameters. A classification tree model is then used to assess the capacity of a set of potential biophysical drivers to discriminate between the different parish groups. Drivers included slope, summer temperature and spring rainfall, land use/land cover (LULC) type and patch fragmentation, and net primary productivity. Results allowed to distinguish four types of fire regime and show that these can be significantly differentiated using the biophysical drivers, of which LULC, slope and spring rainfall are the most important. Among LULC classes, shrubland and herbaceous vegetation play the foremost role, followed by agriculture. Our results highlight the importance of vegetation type, availability, and rate of regeneration, as well as that of topography, in influencing fire regimes in the study area, while suggesting that these regimes should be subject to specific wildfire prevention and mitigation policies.

Rafaello Bergonse et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-342', Anonymous Referee #1, 13 Jul 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Rafaello Bergonse, 25 Jul 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-342', Anonymous Referee #2, 18 Jul 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC2', Rafaello Bergonse, 20 Jul 2022
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-342', Anonymous Referee #3, 04 Aug 2022
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Rafaello Bergonse, 15 Sep 2022

Rafaello Bergonse et al.

Data sets

Fire regime parameters and potential biophysical fire regime drivers - NUTS2 Centro, Portugal Bergonse, Rafaello; Oliveira, Sandra; Zêzere, José Luís; Moreira, Francisco; Ribeiro, Paulo Flores; Leal, Miguel; Lima e Santos, José Manuel

Rafaello Bergonse et al.


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Short summary
We distinguish fire regimes in Central Portugal and investigate the degree to which they are influenced by a set of biophysical drivers. Results show four fire regimes and indicate these can be differentiated using biophysical drivers, among which land use/land cover type, slope and spring rainfall are the foremost. Our results highlight the relations between vegetation (type, availability, and rate of regeneration) and topography with fire regimes in the study area.