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Fire, forest and city water supplies

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Hallema, Dennis; Kinoshita, A. M. ; Martin, D. A.; Robinne, F. -N; Galleguillos, M; McNulty, Steve; Sun, Ge; Singh, K.K.; Mordecai, R. S.; Moore, P. F.

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Forest landscapes generate 57 percent of runoff worldwide and supply water to more than 4 billion people (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005). As the world population continues to increase, there is a strong need to understand how forest processes link together in a cascade to provide people with water services like hydropower, aquaculture, drinking water and flood protection (Carvalho- Santos, Honrado and Hein, 2014). Wildfire is a major disturbance affecting forested watersheds and the water they provide (Box 1) (Paton et al., 2015). Several regions have experienced shifts in wildfires from natural ignition sources (primarily lightning) to ignitions dominated by human activities, especially in areas where populations are increasing (Moritz et al., 2014; Balch et al., 2017). Occasional wildfire is essential for the health and functioning of fire-adapted ecosystems through its effects on nutrient cycling, plant diversity and succession, and pest regulation (Pausas and Keeley, 2019). It also reduces the risk of subsequent wildfires until a forest has accumulated sufficient fuels and conditions are conducive for another fire.


D.W. Hallema, D.W.; Kinoshita, A.M.; Martin, D.A.; Robinne, F.-N.; Galleguillos, M.; McNulty, S.G.; Sun, G.; Singh, K. K.; Mordecai, R. S.; Moore, P. F. 2019. Fire, forest and city water supplies. Unasylva 251, Vol 70, 58 - 66 pp.

Last updated on: March 19, 2020