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Fire in the Future: Interactions with Ecosystems and Society –  FURNACES

FURNACES (Fire in the Future: Interactions with Ecosystems and Society) is an interdisciplinary project about the future interactions between fire, ecosystems and society.

FURNACES is funded by “Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)” from Germany and “Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF)”  from Austria.

In FURNACES we aim to
(1) improve our understanding how humans influence fires based on literature reviews and remote sensing data
(2) integrate an improved representation of humans and the associated uncertainty into vegetation models, and
(3) investigate the consequences of future changes in fire occurrence for ecosystems and societies.

This highly complex topic calls for an interdisciplinary approach. Scientists from Germany and Austria combine their expertise in fire ecology, social ecology, remote sensing, data science and vegetation modeling to better understand the local to global relationships between human, climate, vegetation and fire.



Fire is an intrinsic feature of the ecology and diversity of terrestrial ecosystems. Likewise, fires have accompanied the human species on evolutionary time-scales and have for long been an integral part of land use, but also pose a hazard to human health and properties. Thus, reliable information on potential future fire risks is essential for various stakeholders including, e.g. forest and land owners, nature conservation agencies, landscape architects, insurance companies, agencies responsible for natural disasters or human health services. Due to the complex interactions between vegetation, climate and humans, fire in future environments is investigated with global-scale modeling tools that account for climate change, atmospheric CO2, human activities, and the interactions of fire with land use change and vegetation structure. These models serve as valuable tools to support policy and planning, especially for topics associated with high uncertainties. The major uncertainty in the model projections is the representation of humans and their influence on fires.