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Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

The Moore Center for Science at Conservation International is one of the world’s premier conservation research institutes, producing and applying groundbreaking and policy-relevant research to help decision-makers protect nature. To date, Conservation International has published more than 1,100 peer-reviewed articles, many in leading journals including Science, Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

On average, each of our scientific papers is cited more than 45 times by other scholars — a rate exceeding that of any other U.S. conservation organization as well as leading universities.

Here is an archive of our most recent research.

Putting fire on the map of Brazilian savanna ecoregions

Silva, P. S., Nogueira, J., Rodrigues, J. A., Santos, F. L. M., Pereira, J. M. C., DaCamara, C. C., Daldegan, G. A., Pereira, A. A., Peres, L. F., Schmidt, I. B., & Libonati, R.

Journal of Environmental Management, 296

July 02, 2021

The Brazilian savanna (Cerrado) is considered the most floristically diverse savanna in the world, home to more than seven thousand species. The region is a mosaic of savannas, grasslands and forests whose unique biophysical and landscape attributes are on the basis of a recent ecoregional map, paving the way to improved region-based strategies for land management actions. However, as a fire-prone ecosystem, Cerrado owes much of its distribution and ecological properties to the fire regime and contributes to an important parcel of South America burned area. Accordingly, any attempt to use ecoregion geography as a guide for management strategies should take fire into account, as an essential variable. The main aim of this study is to complement the ecoregional map of the Cerrado with information related to the fire component. Using remotely sensed information, we identify patterns and trends of fire frequency, intensity, seasonality, extent and scar size, and combine this information for each ecoregion, relying on a simple classification that summarizes the main fire characteristics over the last two decades. Results show a marked north-south fire activity gradient, with increased contributions from MATOPIBA, the latest agricultural frontier. Five ecoregions alone account for two thirds of yearly burned area. More intense fires are found in the Arc of Deforestation and eastern ecoregions, while ecoregions in MATOPIBA display decreasing fire intensity. An innovative analysis of fire scars stratified by size class shows that infrequent large fires are responsible for the majority of burned area. These large fires display positive trends over many ecoregions, whereas smaller fires, albeit more frequent, have been decreasing in number. The final fire classification scheme shows well defined spatially-aggregated groups, where trends are found to be the key factor to evaluate fire within their regional contexts. Results presented here provide new insights to improve fire management strategies under a changing climate.

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CITATION

Silva, P. S., Nogueira, J., Rodrigues, J. A., Santos, F. L. M., Pereira, J. M. C., DaCamara, C. C., Daldegan, G. A., Pereira, A. A., Peres, L. F., Schmidt, I. B., & Libonati, R. (2021). Putting fire on the map of Brazilian savanna ecoregions. Journal of Environmental Management, 296, 113098. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.113098