Lecture - Skyrocketing Fire Activity in California: Parsing out the Role of Climate Change vs Population Growth


A lecture by Dr. Jon Keeley - US Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center, Sequoia Field Station, and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA

Part of the 2019 FERAL* Lecture Series Sponsored by the California Fire Science Consortium and the US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region Ecology Program

Since the beginning of the 21st century the number of large and often catastrophic wildfires has increased dramatically. Increasing fire activity parallels increases in temperature, implicating global warming as an important factor. However, since the year 2000 California, where 1 out of every 8 Americans live, has increased its population by 6 million people. Since the majority of fires are started by humans it is reasonable to question how much of the increased fire activity is related to population growth. This talk will examine the spatial variation throughout the state in climate impacts on fires and examine factors where population growth may play a role in increasing hazardous fire conditions.

Bio: Jon E. Keeley is Senior ST research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, adjunct professor at UCLA, former program director at the National Science Foundation, recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and Ecological Society of America Fellow. He has spent sabbaticals in all five mediterranean climate regions of the world. His research includes ecological life history strategies of plants from fire-prone ecosystems, fire-stimulated seed germination, invasive species, taxonomy of Arctostaphylos, and biochemical pathways of photosynthesis in vernal pool plants. His current research is focused on climate change impacts on future fire regimes. He has over 400 publications, which have garnered more than 20,000 citations. He is senior author of a 2012 Cambridge University Press book Fire in Mediterranean Climate Ecosystems: Ecology, Evolution and Management.

Location: 3001 Plant & Environmental Sciences (PES) University of California, Davis


May 17, 2019 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm



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