Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Terrestrial biosphere

The burning issue

Wildfires have been a natural part of the Earth system for millions of years. A new charcoal database for the past two millennia shows that human activity increased biomass burning after AD 1750 and suppressed it after AD 1870.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Letting fires burn.

Jon Keeley

References

  1. Scott, A. C. Palaeogeogr. Palaeocl. Palaeoecol. 164, 281–329 (2000).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Scott, A. C. & Glasspool, I. J. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 103, 10861–10865 (2006).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Pyne, S. J. World Fire: The Culture of Fire on Earth (Henry Holt, New York, 1995).

    Google Scholar 

  4. van der Werf, G. R. et al. Atmos. Chem. Phys. 6, 3423–3441 (2006).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Tansey, K. et al. Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L01401 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Marlon, J. R. et al. Nature Geosci. 1, 697–702 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Power, M. J. et al. Clim. Dyn. 30, 887–907 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Ferretti, D. F. et al. Science 309, 1714–1717 (2005).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Bond, W. J. & Keeley, J. E. Trends Ecol. Evol. 20, 387–394 (2005).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Cochrane, M. A. Nature 421, 912–919 (2003).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Page, S. E. et al. Nature 420, 61–65 (2002).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Scott, A. The burning issue. Nature Geosci 1, 643–644 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo321

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo321

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing