It has been estimated that more than 30% of the global land surface
is subject to a considerable frequency of vegetation fires
(Chuvieco et al., 2008). Li et al. (2013, 2014) argues that fire is
an important Earth system process and a primary terrestrial
ecosystem disturbance agent on a global scale which depends on an
array of attributes, including vegetation characteristics, climate,
and human activities, and fire generates feedback by affecting
biogeochemical cycles, vegetation composition and structure,
landatmosphere water and heat exchanges, atmospheric chemistry and
composition, and human health and property. Although wildland fires
are characteristic of certain regions and seasons, vegetation fires
occur with varying regularity and severity across almost every
biome on Earth (Archibald et al., 2013). Earth's forests and
vegetation provide a vast source of fuel, and fires consume huge
quantities of biomass in all ecosystems ranging across all biomes,
from tundra to savanna and from boreal to tropical forests, where
many of our ecosystems are considered fire dependent (Belcher,
2013). It is both friend and foe to the human race, having strongly
influenced our social development and success as a species, but
also acts as a serious threat to human life (Belcher, 2013). The
present book outlines different perspectives regarding wildland
fires, mega fires, wildland-urban interfaces, and its ecosystem
impacts. It also presents different case-studies from eight
countries (Portugal, Spain, Greece, Israel, Algeria, Russia,
Lithuania and Chile), including valuable contributions that reflect
its title: "Wildland Fires - A Worldwide Reality".
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