The driving factors and their interactions of fire occurrence in Greater Khingan Mountains, China

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Fire is an important disturbance in terms of forest management. A comprehensive understanding of the relationships between the spatial distribution of fire occurrence and its driving factors are critical for effective forest fire management. To reveal biogeoclimatic and anthropogenic influences, this study introduced a geographical detector model to quantitatively examine the effects of multiple individual factors and their combinations on spatial patterns of fire occurrence in the Greater Khingan Mountains between 1980 and 2009. The geographical detector computes the explanatory power (q value) to measure the connection between driving factors and spatial distributions of fire occurrence. Kernel density estimation revealed the spatial variability of fire occurrence which was impacted by bandwidth. 30 km might be the optimal bandwidth in this study. The biogeoclimatic and anthropogenic effects were explored using topography, climate, vegetation, and human activity factors as proxies. Our results indicated that solar radiation had the most influence on the spatial pattern of fire occurrence in the study area. Meanwhile, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, temperature, wind speed, and vegetation type were determined as the major driving factors. For various groups of driving factors, climate variables were the dominant factors for the density of fire occurrence, while vegetation exerted a strong influence. The interactions between the driving factors had a more significant impact than a single factor. Individually, the factors in the topography and human activity groups exhibited weaker influences. However, their effects were enhanced when combined with climate and vegetation factors. This study improves our understanding of various driving factors and their combined influences on fire occurrences of the study area in a spatial context. The findings of this study verify that the geographical detector is applicable in revealing the driving factors of fire occurrence.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of Mountain Science