Interdisciplinary Research on Ecosystem Services:
Fire and Climate Change in UK Moorlands and Heaths

Seminar Two

The impact of wildfire on ecosystem services: relationships between wildfire, climate change and people

Manchester 24 June 2008

Moorland wildfire

Moorland wildfire.

An invited audience of 38 attended the one-day FIRES2 seminar in Manchester. The theme was the relationships between climate change, people, vegetation and wildfire, and the implications of a changed wildfire regime for ecosystem services. Over half of the attendees were practicioners. Five participants were supported under the series’ early career scheme, acting as session rapporteurs and presenting posters. Scottish Natural Heritage sponsorship for the early career scheme and the evening public lecture is gratefully acknowledged.

To encourage discussion on the day, the two keynote papers and responses were pre-circulated. The respondents were chosen to represent contrasting sectors and disciplines. Keynote speakers made brief presentations which were followed by the respondents and then opened to round table discussion. Pre-circulated keynotes, responses and poster abstracts are printed in the downloable conference booklet.

Mark Jones, the Chief Fire Officer Association’s spokesperson on wildfire, gave the first keynote on the frequency, timing and distribution of wildfires in the UK. A lively discussion followed, assisted by contrasting views from respondents from the Peak District National Park ranger service (Sean Prendergast,), Dorset heaths (Andy Elliott) and the land management community/EuroFire (Michael Bruce).

In session two, Mark Gallani of the Met Office, standing in for Claire Goodess, outlined UKCIP climate change scenarios for uplands. The discussion focussed on two related implications – fire risk and hazard. Sarah Haigh (Natural England) flagged the implications of climate change for access and resulting fire risk from likely increased visitor pressure and potential sources of ignition. Matt Davies (FireBeaters) outined the potential implications for biophysical hazard in terms of vegetation vulnerability to fire, and the combined effect of risk and hazard on wildfire regime.

Breakout groups discussed the impact of these hypothesised changes in fire regime on ecosystem services of moorlands and heathlands, and the research needs arising from this.

Public lecture: Wildfires and Climate Change: an American Perspective

The day closed with a reception and an excellent public lecture from Jim Smalley (PDF, 9KB) of the Wildland Fire Protection section of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The presentation set the day’s discussions in context by providing a North American perspective on climate change, wildfire and the implications for management.

Gallery (click to enlarge)

  • Julia McMorrow (click to enlarge)
  • Mark Jones (click to enlarge)
  • Mark Gallani (click to enlarge)
  • Poster session (click to enlarge)


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   Pre-circulated papers
   Reports of discussions

Abstracts are available in the seminar booklet. Presenters wishing to make their poster available to download, should email the file to