Influence of Fire on the Carbon Cycle and Climate

Gitta Lasslop*, Alysha I. Coppola, Apostolos Voulgarakis, Chao Yue, Sander Veraverbeke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose of Review: Understanding of how fire affects the carbon cycle and climate is crucial for climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. As those are often based on Earth system model simulations, we identify recent progress and research needs that can improve the model representation of fire and its impacts. Recent Findings: New constraints of fire effects on the carbon cycle and climate are provided by the quantification of the carbon ages and effects of vegetation types and traits. For global scale modelling, the low understanding of the human–fire relationship is limiting. Summary: Recent developments allow improvements in Earth system models with respect to the influences of vegetation on climate, peatland burning and the pyrogenic carbon cycle. Better understanding of human influences is required. Given the impacts of fire on carbon storage and climate, thorough understanding of the effects of fire in the Earth system is crucial to support climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-123
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Climate Change Reports
Issue number2
Early online date10 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2019


  • Carbon cycle
  • Climate
  • Fire
  • Peatlands
  • Pyrogenic carbon
  • Vegetation traits


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