Modeling burned areas for Europe

The Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) Program has carried out a series of improvements to the quantitative modeling of burned areas in Europe under historical climate, supported by its standalone fire model (SFM).

© Paulo Manuel Furtado Pires | Dreamstime

© Paulo Manuel Furtado Pires | Dreamstime

The analysis was carried out for 2000-2008 for 17 European countries [1]. A major improvement of the original model was achieved through the modification of the fire probability function reflecting fuel moisture. This modification allowed for a dramatic increase in accuracy in modeled burned areas for a range of European countries. A pixel-level parametrization of firefighting efficiency also enhanced the model, along with corrections to the biomass map. Advances in modeling regional burned areas and assessment of corresponding CO2 emissions could help to adequately represent the risks of wildland fires in REDD+ programs, as well as in the wider mitigation and risk management context.

Figure 1. Annual burned areas by country as reported by Global Fire Emissions Database and European Forest Fire Information System, and modeled by SFM.


[1] Krasovskii A, Khabarov N, Migliavacca M, Kraxner F & Obersteiner M (2016). Regional aspects of modeling burned areas in Europe. International Journal of Wildland Fire (in print).


Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany

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Last edited: 15 March 2016


Nikolay Khabarov

Research Scholar Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

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