Researchers at UC Berkeley and Texas Tech University have created an interesting new map based upon ten years of satellite data (1996-2006). The new map predicts regions of the planet that will become more or less fire prone as the climate changes.
The study, currently being peer reviewed, presents an interesting view of a changing world: the extreme northern latitudes, Tibet, the Fertile Crescent, and the high desert regions of the US will see an increase in fires while the entirety of southeast Asia, southern India, the Iberian peninsula, and large swaths of Brazil and north-central Africa, will see less fires.
As a geographer, this map compels me to ask questions. For instance, how will the new fire regime affect the local and regional ecologies of species that rely upon fire for propogation? How will species unadapted to fire cope? These questions are vexing conservation biologists and planners as I write this: how do you best plan for the massive ecosytem changes we expect to see in the coming century?