Forest Fires in the Insular Caribbean
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): A. M.J. Robbins; C. Eckelmann; M. Quinones
Publication Year: 2008

Cataloging Information

  • agriculture
  • Bahamas
  • Caribbean
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • fire dependent species
  • fire management
  • fire sensitive plants
  • forest management
  • forest types
  • GIS
  • introduced species
  • invasive species
  • Jamaica
  • montane forests
  • pine
  • pine forests
  • plantations
  • Puerto Rico
  • remote sensing
  • tropical forests
  • tropical regions
  • vegetation surveys
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 47668
Tall Timbers Record Number: 23646
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


This paper presents a summary of the forest fire reports in the insular Caribbean derived from both management reports and an analysis of publicly available Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrodiometer (MODIS) satellite active fire products from the region. A vast difference between the amount of fires reported by land managers and fire points in the MODIS Fire Information for Resource Management System data can be observed. Future research is recommended to better understand the nature of these differences. While there is a general lack of available statistical data on forest fires in the Caribbean, a few general observations can be made: Forest fires occur mainly in dry forest types (500 to 1000 mm of mean annual rainfall). These are also the areas where most human settlements are located. Lowland high forests and montane forests with higher rainfall (1000 and more mm y-1) are less susceptible to forest fire, but they can burn in exceptionally dry years. Most of the dry forest ecosystems in the Caribbean can be considered to be fire-sensitive ecosystems, while the pine forests in the Caribbean (Cuba, Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas) are maintained by wildfires. In fire-sensitive ecosystems, uncontrolled burning often encourages the spread of alien invasive species. A Caribbean Fire Management Cooperation Strategy was developed between 2005 and 2006 under auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This regional strategy aims to strengthen Caribbean fire management networking by encouraging closer collaboration among countries with similar ecological conditions. The strategy for the Caribbean identifies a number of research, training, and management activities to improve wildfire management capacity in the Caribbean. © Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2008

Robbins, A. M. J., C. Eckelmann, and M. Quinones. 2008. Forest Fires in the Insular Caribbean. Ambio, v. 37, no. 7-8, p. 528-534.