Climate and socioeconomic drivers of biomass burning and carbon emissions from fires in tropical dry forests: a Pantropical analysis
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Rogelio O. Corona-Núñez; Julio Campo
Publication Year: 2023

Cataloging Information

  • burned area
  • carbon emissions
  • climate drivers
  • drought
  • ENSO - El Nino Southern Oscillation
  • fire
  • human factors
  • La Nina
  • socioeconomic drivers
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: January 26, 2023
FRAMES Record Number: 66974


Global burned area has declined by nearly one quarter between 1998 and 2015. Drylands contain a large proportion of these global fires but there are important differences within the drylands, for example, savannas and tropical dry forests (TDF). Savannas, a biome fire-prone and fire-adapted, have reduced the burned area, while the fire in the TDF is one of the most critical factors impacting biodiversity and carbon emissions. Moreover, under climate change scenarios TDF is expected to increase its current extent and raise the risk of fires. Despite regional and global scale effects, and the influence of this ecosystem on the global carbon cycle, little effort has been dedicated to studying the influence of climate (seasonality and extreme events) and socioeconomic conditions of fire regimen in TDF. Here we use the Global Fire Emissions Database and, climate and socioeconomic metrics to better understand long-term factors explaining the variation in burned area and biomass in TDF at Pantropical scale. On average, fires affected 1.4% of the total TDF' area (60,208 km2) and burned 24.4% (259.6 Tg) of the global burned biomass annually at Pantropical scales. Climate modulators largely influence local and regional fire regimes. Inter-annual variation in fire regime is shaped by El Niño and La Niña. During the El Niño and the forthcoming year of La Niña, there is an increment in extension (35.2% and 10.3%) and carbon emissions (42.9% and 10.6%). Socioeconomic indicators such as land-management and population were modulators of the size of both, burned area and carbon emissions. Moreover, fires may reduce the capability to reach the target of “half protected species” in the globe, that is, high-severity fires are recorded in ecoregions classified as nature could reach half protected. These observations may contribute to improving fire-management.

Online Link(s):
Corona-Núñez, Rogelio O.; Campo, Julio E. 2023. Climate and socioeconomic drivers of biomass burning and carbon emissions from fires in tropical dry forests: a Pantropical analysis. Global Change Biology 29(4):1062-1079.