New paper: 7000-year human legacy of elevation-dependent European fire regimes

Paper Highlights:
• 18 southern European charcoal records document 16,000 years of fire regime changes.
• Since the Neolithic, land uses have artificially maintained high fire frequencies.
• Human-induced decreases in forest cover led to a reduction in the biomass burned.
• Human-modified landscapes affected ecological processes more meaningly than expected.


Vannière B., Blarquez O., Rius D., Doyen E., Brücher T., Colombaroli D., Connor S., Feurdean A., Hickler T., Lemmen C., Leys B., Massa C., Olofsson J. 2015. The human legacies of elevation-dependant European fire regimes. Quaternary Science Reviews. DOI: doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.11.012.


Fire regime proxy series through time (Fig. S1, S2 and S3). Density distribution of Charcoal Accumulation Rate Z-scores (CHAR), biomass burned and fire frequency proxies for all sites (a to c), for lowland sites (d to f), midland sites (g to i) and highland sites (j to l). The color scale translates the density of the proxy site-records at each time step; cold colors are indicative of data dispersion and thus capture the heterogeneity among sites; hot colors indicate site response homogeneity and thus spatial uniformity. The white dotted lines separate time periods with significant differences in the proxies’ mean and variance (see Materials and Methods). All ages are expressed in calibrated kilo-years Before the Present (conventionally fixed at 1950 AD).