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Journal of Environmental Biology

pISSN: 0254-8704 ; eISSN: 2394-0379 ; CODEN: JEBIDP

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    Abstract - Issue Jan 2015, 36 (1)                                     Back

nstantaneous and historical temperature effects on a-pinene

The largest forest fires in Portugal: the constraints of burned area size on the comprehension of fire severity



Fantina Tedim1*, Ruben Remelgado2, Jo?o Martins3 and Salete Carvalho1

1Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts, University of Porto, Porto, 4150-564,Portugal

2European Academy of Bolzano, Bolzano, 39100, Italy

3Institute of Nature Conservation and Forests, Faro, 8001-904, Portugal

*Corresponding Authors Email :




Publication Data

Paper received:

28 June 2013


Revised received:

30 October 2013


Re-revised received:

18 June 2014



22 September 2014



Portugal is a European country with highest forest fires density and burned area. Since beginning of official forest fires database in 1980, an increase in number of fires and burned area as well as appearance of large and catastrophic fires have characterized fire activity in Portugal. In 1980s, the largest fires were just a little bit over 10,000 ha. However, in the beginning of 21st century several fires occurred with a burned area over 20,000 ha. Some of these events can be classified as mega-fires due to their ecological and socioeconomic severity. The present study aimed to discuss the characterization of large forest fires trend, in order to understand if the largest fires that occurred in Portugal were? exceptional events or evidences of a new trend, and the constraints of fire size to characterize fire effects because, usually, it is assumed that larger the fire higher the damages. Using Portuguese forest fire database and satellite imagery, the present study showed that the largest fires could be seen at the same time as exceptional events and as evidence of a new fire regime. It highlighted the importance of size and patterns of unburned patches within fire perimeter as well as heterogeneity of fire ecological severity, usually not included in fire regime description, which are critical to fire management and research. The findings of this research can be used in forest risk reduction and suppression planning.    



 Key words


Forest fire, Fire severity, Large fire, Portugal , Risk management 




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