Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 504667
Title The role of fire in UK peatland and moorland management : The need for informed, unbiased debate
Author(s) Davies, G.M.; Kettridge, Nicholas; Stoof, Cathelijne R.; Gray, Alan; Ascoli, Davide; Fernandes, Paulo M.; Marrs, Rob; Allen, Katherine A.; Doerr, Stefan H.; Clay, Gareth D.; McMorrow, Julia; Vandvik, Vigdis
Source Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Series B, Biological Sciences 371 (2016)1696. - ISSN 0962-8436
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2015.0342
Department(s) Soil Geography and Landscape
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) Calluna vulgaris - Management burning - Moorland - Peat - Prescribed burning - UK - Wildfire
Abstract

Fire has been used for centuries to generate and manage some of the UK’s cultural landscapes. Despite its complex role in the ecology of UK peatlands and moorlands, there has been a trend of simplifying the narrative around burning to present it as an only ecologically damaging practice. That fire modifies peatland characteristics at a range of scales is clearly understood. Whether these changes are perceived as positive or negative depends upon how trade-offs are made between ecosystem services and the spatial and temporal scales of concern. Here we explore the complex interactions and trade-offs in peatland fire management, evaluating the benefits and costs of managed fire as they are currently understood. We highlight the need for (i) distinguishing between the impacts of fires occurring with differing severity and frequency, and (ii) improved characterization of ecosystem health that incorporates the response and recovery of peatlands to fire. We also explore how recent research has been contextualized within both scientific publications and the wider media and how this can influence non-specialist perceptions. We emphasize the need for an informed, unbiased debate on fire as an ecological management tool that is separated from other aspects of moorland management and from political and economic opinions.

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