Environmental Skeptics and Critics, 2012, 1(4): 56-60
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Why not use niche modelling for computing risk of wildfires ignition and spreading?

Alessandro Ferrarini
Department of Evolutionary and Functional Biology, University of Parma, Via G. Saragat 4, I-43100 Parma, Italy

Received 17 September 2012;Accepted 20 October 2012;Published online 1 December 2012

A forest fire can be a true ecological calamity, regardless of whether it is caused by natural forces or human actions. Although it is impossible to control nature, it is possible to map wildfire risk zones, and thence minimize the frequency of wildfires and prevent damages. Wildfire risk zones are locations where a fire is likely to start, and from where it can spread to other areas. Predictions of wildfires ignitions are critical aspects of biodiversity conservation and management, and they are only possible when a reliable fire risk zone map is available. I suggest in this paper that wildfire ignition risk computed from points of past wildfires obeys the same conceptual and mathematical rules of niche models commonly applied to points of sampled plants or animals. Therefore, niche modeling can also be an inductive approach for an effective and inexpensive computation of wildfires ignition and spreading likelihood.

Keywords biodiversity preservation;ignition likelihood;Maxent;niche modeling;wildfires.

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