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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Fire-climate relationships in continental Southeast Asia Ku, Andrea


Despite the prevalence of fire in continental Southeast Asia (SEA) and its important ecological role, little is known about the drivers of geographical variation of fire activity in the region. My research investigated 1) how the geographic variation in fire activity is associated with climate, landcover, and human influence, and 2) what and where are distinct fire regimes located in continental SEA. I quantified the response of fire activity to climate, landcover, and anthropogenic metrics and defined spatially constrained clusters with similar fire patterns. We used satellite remote-sensing data from 2001 to 2021 at 0.25° spatial resolutions. Climatic variables that decrease vegetation moisture and the presence of human establishments were important predictors of fire activity. We identified fire regimes that were associated with deforestation in Cambodia and Laos, agricultural activity in Vietnam, and ecological fires in the forest-savanna mosaics in Cambodia. Exploring the spatial distribution of fire patterns and its’ anthropogenic or climatological drivers of fire is key to understanding Southeast Asian ecosystems. Implications of these results could further encourage ecologically appropriate fire management strategies.

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