Humans dominated biomass burning variations in Equatorial Asia over the past 200 years: Evidence from a lake sediment charcoal record

A.H. Cheung, R.S. Vachula, E. Clifton, S. Sandwick, James M. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Wildfire impacts ecosystems, climate, carbon cycling, societies, and human health. Quantification of these impacts relies upon climate and fire models, which are constrained by historical observations that are limited to the past 30 years. But in regions where records are sparse, like Equatorial Asia (EQAS), fire activities are assumed to be insignificant before the 1960s. We present a 200-year charcoal record from Lake Lading, Indonesia, which shows substantial fire variability since the 19th century. We identify a significant role of humans in controlling fire activity in Java, which could potentially extend to other parts of EQAS. These results contradict assumptions made in current fire emissions estimates and suggest an oversimplification of the spatiotemporal complexity of fire in EQAS before the 1960s. Our study highlights the need for more high-resolution charcoal records in the tropics to improve fire models and emissions estimates. © 2020 Elsevier Ltd
Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages9
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume253
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Export Date: 23 January 2021

Keywords

  • Biomass burning
  • Charcoal
  • Equatorial Asia
  • Paleofire
  • Present

Continental Scientific Drilling Facility tags

  • CELOT

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