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Hélène Genet, Yujie He, Zhou Lyu, A David McGuire, Qianlai Zhuang, Joy Clein, David D'Amore, Alec Bennett, Amy Breen, Frances Biles, Eugénie S Euskirchen, Kristofer Johnson, Tom Kurkowski, Svetlana Kushch Schroder, Neal Pastick, T Scott Rupp, Bruce Wylie, Yujin Zhang, Xiaoping Zhou, Zhiliang Zhu
It is important to understand how upland ecosystems of Alaska, which are estimated to occupy 84% of the state (i.e. 1,237,774 km(2) ), are influencing and will influence state-wide carbon (C) dynamics in the face of ongoing climate change. We coupled fire disturbance and biogeochemical models to assess the relative effects of changing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 ), climate, logging and fire regimes on the historical and future C balance of upland ecosystems for the four main Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) of Alaska...
October 17, 2017: Ecological Applications: a Publication of the Ecological Society of America
David S Pilliod, Justin L Welty, Robert S Arkle
Larger, more frequent wildfires in arid and semi-arid ecosystems have been associated with invasion by non-native annual grasses, yet a complete understanding of fine fuel development and subsequent wildfire trends is lacking. We investigated the complex relationships among weather, fine fuels, and fire in the Great Basin, USA. We first modeled the annual and time-lagged effects of precipitation and temperature on herbaceous vegetation cover and litter accumulation over a 26-year period in the northern Great Basin...
October 2017: Ecology and Evolution
Garrett Patrick, Luting Fang, Jacob Schaefer, Sukrit Singh, Gregory Bowman, Timothy Adam Wencewicz
Tabtoxinine-β-lactam (TβL), also known as wildfire toxin, is a time- and ATP-dependent inhibitor of glutamine synthetase produced by plant pathogenic strains of Pseudomonas syringae. Here we demonstrate that recombinant glutamine synthetase from E. coli phosphorylates the C3-hydroxyl group of the TβL 3-(R)-hydroxy-β-lactam (3-HβL) warhead. Phosphorylation of TβL generates a stable, non-covalent enzyme-ADP-inhibitor complex that resembles the glutamine synthetase tetrahedral transition state. The TβL β-lactam ring remains intact during enzyme inhibition making TβL mechanistically distinct from traditional β-lactam antibiotics such as penicillin...
October 17, 2017: Biochemistry
Marcos Francos, Xavier Úbeda, Paulo Pereira, Meritxell Alcañiz
Wildfires affect ecosystems depending on the fire regime. Long-term studies are needed to understand the ecological role played by fire, especially as regards its impact on soils. The aim of this study is to monitor the long-term effects (18years) of a wildfire on soil properties in two areas affected by low and high fire severity regimes. The properties studied were total nitrogen (TN), total carbon (TC), C/N ratio, soil organic matter (SOM) and extractable calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na) and potassium (K)...
October 6, 2017: Science of the Total Environment
April M Melvin, Gerardo Celis, Jill F Johnstone, A David McGuire, Helene Genet, Edward A G Schuur, T Scott Rupp, Michelle C Mack
Increasing wildfire activity in Alaska's boreal forests has led to greater fuel-reduction management. Management has been implemented to reduce wildfire spread, but the ecological impacts of these practices are poorly known. We quantified the effects of hand-thinning and shearblading on above- and belowground stand characteristics, plant species composition, carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) pools, and soil thaw across 19 black spruce (Picea mariana) dominated sites in interior Alaska treated 2-12 years prior to sampling...
October 7, 2017: Ecological Applications: a Publication of the Ecological Society of America
Eugênia Kelly Luciano Batista, Jeremy Russell-Smith, Helena França, José Eugênio Côrtes Figueira
Fire has shaped plant evolution and biogeochemical cycles for millions of years in savanna ecosystems, but changes in natural fire regimes promoted by human land use threaten contemporary conservation efforts. In protected areas in the Brazilian savannas (Cerrado), the predominant management policy is fire suppression, reflecting a cultural heritage which considers that fire always has a negative impact on biodiversity. Here we compare resultant fire-regimes in Canastra National Park (CNP), southeast Brazil, associated with areas under and without fire suppression management, based on a 16-year Landsat imagery record...
September 28, 2017: Journal of Environmental Management
Joseph S Schlosser, Rachel A Braun, Trevor Bradley, Hossein Dadashazar, Alexander B MacDonald, Abdulmonam A Aldhaif, Mojtaba Azadi Aghdam, Ali Hossein Mardi, Peng Xian, Armin Sorooshian
This study examines major wildfires in the western United States between 2005 and 2015 to determine which species exhibit the highest percent change in mass concentration on day of peak fire influence relative to preceding nonfire days. Forty-one fires were examined using the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) data set. Organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) constituents exhibited the highest percent change increase. The sharpest enhancements were for the volatile (OC1) and semivolatile (OC2) OC fractions, suggestive of secondary organic aerosol formation during plume transport...
August 27, 2017: Journal of Geophysical Research. Atmospheres: JGR
D P S Terêncio, L F Sanches Fernandes, R M V Cortes, J P Moura, F A L Pacheco
Rainwater harvesting (RWH) is used to support small-scale agriculture and handle seasonal water availability, especially in regions where populations are scattered or the costs to develop surface or groundwater resources are high. However, questions may arise as whether this technique can support larger-scale irrigation projects and in complement help the struggle against wildfires in agro-forested watersheds. The issue is relevant because harvested rainwater in catchments is usually accumulated in small-capacity reservoirs created by small-height dams...
September 22, 2017: Science of the Total Environment
M Alcañiz, L Outeiro, M Francos, X Úbeda
Soils constitute one of the most valuable resources on earth, especially because soil is renewable on human time scales. During the 20th century, a period marked by a widespread rural exodus and land abandonment, fire suppression policies were adopted facilitating the accumulation of fuel in forested areas, exacerbating the effects of wildfires, leading to severe degradation of soils. Prescribed fires emerged as an option for protecting forests and their soils from wildfires through the reduction of fuels levels...
September 21, 2017: Science of the Total Environment
Cristián González, Miguel Castillo, Pablo García-Chevesich, Juan Barrios
A spatial modeling was applied to Chilean wildfire occurrence, through the Dempster-Shafer's evidence theory and considering the 2006-2010 period for the Valparaiso Region (central Chile), a representative area for this experiment. Results indicate strong spatial correlation between documented wildfires and cumulative evidence maps, resulting in a powerful tool for future wildfire risk prevention programs.
September 21, 2017: Science of the Total Environment
Bradley Law, Gabriele Caccamo, Paul Roe, Anthony Truskinger, Traecey Brassil, Leroy Gonsalves, Anna McConville, Matthew Stanton
Species distribution models have great potential to efficiently guide management for threatened species, especially for those that are rare or cryptic. We used MaxEnt to develop a regional-scale model for the koala Phascolarctos cinereus at a resolution (250 m) that could be used to guide management. To ensure the model was fit for purpose, we placed emphasis on validating the model using independently-collected field data. We reduced substantial spatial clustering of records in coastal urban areas using a 2-km spatial filter and by modeling separately two subregions separated by the 500-m elevational contour...
September 2017: Ecology and Evolution
Daniel J Krofcheck, Matthew D Hurteau, Robert M Scheller, E Louise Loudermilk
In frequent fire forests of the western United States, a legacy of fire suppression coupled with increases in fire weather severity have altered fire regimes and vegetation dynamics. When coupled with projected climate change, these conditions have the potential to lead to vegetation type change and altered carbon (C) dynamics. In the Sierra Nevada, fuels reduction approaches that include mechanical thinning followed by regular prescribed fire are one approach to restore the ability of the ecosystem to tolerate episodic fire and still sequester C...
September 23, 2017: Global Change Biology
Minori Uchimiya, Joseph J Pignatello, Jason C White, Szu-Tung Hu, Paulo J Ferreira
Pyrogenic carbon is widespread in soil due to wildfires, soot deposition, and intentional amendment of pyrolyzed waste biomass (biochar). Interactions between engineered carbon nanoparticles and natural pyrogenic carbon (char) are unknown. This study first employed transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) to interpret the superstructure composing aqueous fullerene C60 nanoparticles prepared by prolonged stirring of commercial fullerite in water (nC60-stir). The nC60-stir was a superstructure composed of face-centered cubic (fcc) close-packing of near-spherical C60 superatoms...
September 18, 2017: Scientific Reports
Lauren T Bennett, Matthew J Bruce, Josephine Machunter, Michele Kohout, Saravanan Jangammanaidu Krishnaraj, Cristina Aponte
The carbon stability of fire-tolerant forests is often assumed but less frequently assessed, limiting potential to anticipate threats to forest carbon posed by predicted increases in forest fire activity. Assessing the carbon stability of fire-tolerant forests requires multi-indicator approaches that recognise the myriad of ways that fires influence the carbon balance including combustion, deposition of pyrogenic material, and tree death, post-fire decomposition, recruitment, and growth. Five years after a large-scale wildfire in south-eastern Australia, we assessed the impacts of low- and high-severity wildfire, with and without prescribed fire (≤ 10 years before), on carbon stocks in multiple pools, and on carbon stability indicators (carbon stock percentages in live trees and in small trees, and carbon stocks in char and fuels) in fire-tolerant eucalypt forests...
September 16, 2017: Ecological Applications: a Publication of the Ecological Society of America
Benjamin A Jones, Robert P Berrens
Recent growth in the frequency and severity of US wildfires has led to more wildfire smoke and increased public exposure to harmful air pollutants. Populations exposed to wildfire smoke experience a variety of negative health impacts, imposing economic costs on society. However, few estimates of smoke health costs exist and none for the entire Western US, in particular, which experiences some of the largest and most intense wildfires in the US. The lack of cost estimates is troublesome because smoke health impacts are an important consideration of the overall costs of wildfire...
September 13, 2017: Environmental Management
Belén Carballo-Leyenda, José G Villa, Jorge López-Satué, Jose A Rodríguez-Marroyo
Wildfire firefighting is an extremely demanding occupation performed under hot environment. The use of personal protective clothing (PPC) is needed to protect subjects from the thermal exposure. However, the additional use of PPC may increase the wildland firefighters' physiological strain, and consequently limit their performance. The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of four different PPC on the physiological strain of wildland firefighters under moderate conditions (30°C and 30% RH). Eight active and healthy wildland firefighters performed a submaximal walking test wearing a traditional short sports gear and 4 different PPC...
2017: Frontiers in Physiology
Cristina Santín, Stefan H Doerr, Agustin Merino, Thomas D Bucheli, Rob Bryant, Philippa Ascough, Xiaodong Gao, Caroline A Masiello
Pyrogenic carbon (PyC), produced naturally (wildfire charcoal) and anthropogenically (biochar), is extensively studied due to its importance in several disciplines, including global climate dynamics, agronomy and paleosciences. Charcoal and biochar are commonly used as analogues for each other to infer respective carbon sequestration potentials, production conditions, and environmental roles and fates. The direct comparability of corresponding natural and anthropogenic PyC, however, has never been tested. Here we compared key physicochemical properties (elemental composition, δ(13)C and PAHs signatures, chemical recalcitrance, density and porosity) and carbon sequestration potentials of PyC materials formed from two identical feedstocks (pine forest floor and wood) under wildfire charring- and slow-pyrolysis conditions...
September 11, 2017: Scientific Reports
Carolyn Black, Yohannes Tesfaigzi, Jed A Bassein, Lisa A Miller
Understanding the effect of wildfire smoke exposure on human health represents a unique interdisciplinary challenge to the scientific community. Population health studies indicate that wildfire smoke is a risk to human health and increases the healthcare burden of smoke-impacted areas. However, wildfire smoke composition is complex and dynamic, making characterization and modeling difficult. Furthermore, current efforts to study the effect of wildfire smoke are limited by availability of air quality measures and inconsistent air quality reporting among researchers...
October 2017: Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology
Johannes H C Cornelissen, Saskia Grootemaat, Lieneke M Verheijen, William K Cornwell, Peter M van Bodegom, René van der Wal, Rien Aerts
Contents I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII. References SUMMARY: Biological decomposition and wildfire are connected carbon release pathways for dead plant material: slower litter decomposition leads to fuel accumulation. Are decomposition and surface fires also connected through plant community composition, via the species' traits? Our central concept involves two axes of trait variation related to decomposition and fire. The 'plant economics spectrum' (PES) links biochemistry traits to the litter decomposability of different fine organs...
September 11, 2017: New Phytologist
Tiffanny R Sharp Bowman, Brock R McMillan, Samuel B St Clair
Ecosystems are transformed by changes in disturbance regimes including wildfire and herbivory. Rodent consumers can have strong top-down effects on plant community assembly through seed predation, but their impacts on post-germination seedling establishment via seedling herbivory need better characterization, particularly in deserts. To test the legacy effects of fire history, and native rodent consumers on seedling establishment, we evaluated factorial combinations of experimental exclusion of rodents and fire history (burned vs...
September 8, 2017: Oecologia
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