The Anthropocene - humans, fire and our flammable planet

The Anthropocene has become a power metaphor for rapid changes to the Earth system. What is often overlooked is the driver for these changes is ultimately related to human caused combustion of biomass and fossil fuels. This raises vexed questions of how flammable Earth would be were it not for humans, whether humans necessarily disrupt ecosystems with fire, how we can sustainably live with flammable ecosystems, and if climate change is driving a fire‐feedback loop that could transform entire landscapes and possibly the biosphere. My talk will provide a framework to think about these issues.

About the speaker

Professor David Bowman holds a research chair in Environmental Change Biology in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Tasmania. He is an internationally recognised scholar who is pioneering the new discipline of pyrogeography that seeks to understand the social and biophysical dimensions of fire on Earth.