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Can we accurately predict future fire regimes and carbon emission?

In my PhD project I mainly focus on the interactions between fuels that play a role in fire behavior, with a specific focus on higher latitude areas. Fuel composition, fire regimes, carbon emission and climate change are all connected and my aim is to improve our understanding of their interactions and how they may change in the future. To understand the full scope of these complex processes we first have to gain knowledge about the processes in detail, which is what I work on. We try to find relations between fuel properties, their interactions and the effect on fire behavior. As a PhD student I like the diversity of my work, from experimental setup, to experimenting, data analysis and writing manuscripts. In general I’m enthusiastic, passionate and try to enjoy every day of my life.

Research project

The role of fuel type interactions in higher latitudes fires

In our FLARE (Fire Laboratory Amsterdam for Research in Ecology) lab we perform fire experiments and when possible validate our findings in field experiments (e.g. in Scottish heathland). We try to explain fire behavior based on plant traits and the interaction between different fuel types. The three main fuel types we use are soil organic matter, litter (dead plant material) and fresh (living) plant material. The fuels have distinct trait values and therefore a different fire behavior. Moreover, the fuel interactions can change the fire behavior and cannot be simply be predicted based on monospecific fire behavior. By conducting fire experiments on both monospecific fuel beds and mixture fuel beds we can examine both the individual plant flammability and interaction effects on flammability. In addition, we measure a range of chemical and structural traits to acquire a full understanding of fire behavior in single and mixed fuel compositions.


Participants: Prof. Dr. Rien Aerts, Prof. Dr. Hans Cornelissen, R.S.P. van Logtestijn, Luke Blauw

Research video: (Dutch spoken - English subtitled)

Ancillary activities

  • Van West Koeltechniek BV | 't Harde | Monteur | 2014-05-15

Last update Ancillary Activities: Amsterdam (2018-01-23)

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Research Output 2014 2017

Fuel moisture content enhances nonadditive effects of plant mixtures on flammability and fire behavior

Blauw, L. G., Wensink, N., Bakker, L., van Logtestijn, R. S. P., Aerts, R., Soudzilovskaia, N. A. & Cornelissen, J. H. C. 2015 In : Ecology and Evolution. 5, 17, p. 3830-3841

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

Interactions between Fine Wood Decomposition and Flammability

Zhao, W., Blauw, L. G., van Logtestijn, R. S. P., Cornwell, W. K. & Cornelissen, J. H. C. 2014 In : Forests. 5, 4, p. 827-846

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle