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Universidade do Porto (2013)

Patterns and drivers of wildfire occurrence and post-fire vegetation resilience across scales in Portugal

João Paulo Couto Sá Torres

Titre : Patterns and drivers of wildfire occurrence and post-fire vegetation resilience across scales in Portugal

Auteur : João Paulo Couto Sá Torres

Université de soutenance : Universidade do Porto

Grade : Doutoramento em Biologia 2013

Résumé partiel
Wildfire occurrence and post-fire ecosystem resilience are complex phenomena, driven by a multitude of factors at several spatial and temporal scales. These drivers include environmental conditions, human factors, landscape and ecosystem traits, and attributes of fire events and fire history. This dissertation addresses the complex patterns of wildfire occurrence and post-fire regeneration across scales in continental Portugal, a small but heterogeneous country holding the highest records of wildfire occurrence in Europe. Results of four studies are presented, of which two address national to (sub-)regional wildfire patterns and drivers, and two provide analyses of regional and local patterns and drivers of post-fire resilience. These four studies are based on several types of data and modelling techniques, and together they are intended to contribute to the understanding of wildfire occurrence and post-fire resilience as two key components of multi-scale fire risk management. The first study analyses recent patterns of wildfires in continental Portugal and tries to identify its main drivers using machine learning techniques. The heterogeneity of environmental and socioeconomic conditions was found to be clearly reflected in the patterns of fire occurrence, and distinct groups of factors were shown to differentially influence fire occurrence in different regions across the country. The second study applied inductive logical programming to derive a set of rules to explain and predict the general patterns of wildfires in the Alto Minho sub-region, northwest of Portugal, and again the results highlighted the importance of considering internal heterogeneity of conditions (with an emphasis for landscape features) to explain and predict fire occurrence in small but complex regions. The third study provides evidence of the potential of remote sensing data and tools to assess changes in ecosystems driven by fire events as well as to analyse their post-fire recovery, particularly for functional state indicators. Finally, the fourth study uses vegetation and plant community data collected during in-field campaigns to assess the relative importance of geological factors and fire history as local controls of post-fire resilience

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