Speaker: Dr. Narendran Kodandapani, Researcher, IFP
Abstract: Current climate change projections show increased likelihood of drought in most tropical forests. Since the 1970s droughts in several tropical regions have been longer and more intense, with ensuing impacts on ecosystems and human populations. The effects of these climatic extremes on vegetation have manifested themselves in terms of increased mortality and altered patterns of disturbances in ecosystems worldwide. In 2004, a sharply increased fire activity followed a severe drought, highlighting the potential importance of drought-fire linkages. The spatial extent of droughts and fire response to the 2004 drought was analyzed with Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission data and from MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer thermal anomaly data (C5 MOD14A1, and MYD14A1), respectively. Simultaneously, daily weather data from an automatic weather station was also examined for fire-climate links. The 2004 drought was characterized by its intensification throughout the dry season in south and central parts of the Western Ghats. Also, in 2004, > 50% of the hot pixels during the dry season experienced enhanced fire anomalies (> 1σ). Under drought conditions in 2004, the total fire occurrences in forests was 2 fold greater compared to the year 2005. The EDI analysis confirms robust relationships between fire occurrences and antecedent negative rainfall anomalies in the year 2004. The daily variability in wildfire incidence in 2004 is strongly associated with potential evapotranspiration. Both concurrent as well as antecedent climatic conditions are important for fire occurrences in the Western Ghats. These fire anomalies, distributed not only in the dry forests, but also in the moist forests, could have important implications for conservation of biodiversity in the Western Ghats, as tropical evergreen forests could be extremely vulnerable to frequent fires.
Organisers Department of Ecology, French Institute of Pondicherry.
Venue Jawaharlal Nehru Conference Hall, French Institute of Pondicherry, 11, Saint Louis Street, Pondicherry - 605 001.