Current and future patterns of forest fire occurrence in China

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Date of Original Version



Forest fire patterns are likely to be altered by climate change. We used boosted regression trees modelling and the MODIS Global Fire Atlas dataset (2003-15) to characterise relative influences of nine natural and human variables on fire patterns across five forest zones in China. The same modelling approach was used to project fire patterns for 2041-60 and 2061-80 based on two general circulation models for two representative concentration pathways scenarios. The results showed that, for the baseline period (2003-15) and across the five forest zones, climate variables explained 37.4-43.5% of the variability in fire occurrence and human activities were responsible for explaining an additional 27.0-36.5% of variability. The fire frequency was highest in the subtropical evergreen broadleaf forests zone in southern China, and lowest in the warm temperate deciduous broadleaved mixed-forests zone in northern China. Projection results showed an increasing trend in fire occurrence probability ranging from 43.3 to 99.9% and 41.4 to 99.3% across forest zones under the two climate models and two representative concentration pathways scenarios relative to the current climate (2003-15). Increased fire occurrence is projected to shift from southern to central-northern China for both 2041-60 and 2061-80.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

International Journal of Wildland Fire