Global fire challenges in a warming world

IUFRO and the World Bank present a publication on land management, fire prevention, and climate change based on a Global Expert Workshop held in July 2018.

Photo: IUFRO

Wildfires have played a critical role in shaping our environment. Iconic tree species, such as the giant sequoia, even depend on fire for their regeneration. However, the role of fire is changing rapidly. Globally, wildfires have become a major factor causing deforestation and forest degradation. A potentially vicious cycle of climate change and fire is emerging.

Available data shows a trend of increasing frequency and intensity of uncontrolled fires adversely affecting biodiversity, ecological services, human well-being and livelihoods and national economies. Recent fire seasons have been catastrophic, with fatalities and dramatic consequences on people’s health. These modern-day fires are now largely anthropogenic, with lightning-caused fires becoming almost outliers in comparison. Although land use policies and management practices have focused on decreasing the global land area burnt every year, success has been mixed at best.

Against this background, the Programme on Forests (PROFOR) housed at the World Bank and the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) jointly convened a Global Expert Workshop on Fire and Climate Change in Vienna, Austria, on 2-4 July 2018, with the aim of improving the understanding of the complex interrelations between wildfire, climate and land management and identifying urgently required response strategies and actions.

“Global Fire Challenges in a Warming World” presents a summary of the expertise presented in this Global Expert Workshop. At the nexus of fire policy and climate change, this publication brings together state-of-the-art scientific information on wildfire as discussed by the experts in the workshop, providing guidance for decision makers on policy and investments to better cope with, and adapt to, an increasingly fire-prone landscape.

More information


Robinne, F-N et. al 2019, Global Fire Challenges in a Warming World: Summary Note of a Global Expert Workshop on Fire and Climate Change, IUFRO, ISBN 978-3-903258-13-6.

VIAAlexander Buck and Benoit Blarel
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The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) is a non-profit, non-governmental international network of forest scientists, which promotes global cooperation in forest-related research and enhances the understanding of the ecological, economic and social aspects of forests and trees. IUFRO unites more than 15,000 scientists in almost 700 Member Organizations in over 110 countries, and is a member of ICSU.