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Study of natural fires in the Cerrado


Natural fires started by atmospheric dis’charges are common events in several regions of the world. They form a part of those ecosystems and have already been well studied and documented in other countries. In Brazil there is evidence that natural fires are frequent in the Cerrado, although they remain practically unknown to science. Fire in the Cerrado is considered a natural disturbance and integral to its dynamic and the natural fires may be important for the maintenance of the ecological processes and the biodiversity, especially in the conservation units (CU). This project intends to investigate the occurrence of natural fires in the cerrados in the following National Parks: Serra da Canastra (PNSCa), Emas (PNE), Brasília (PNB) and Serra do Cipó (PNSCi), characterizing the biotic and abiotic factors involved in these events. The quantification and physical characterization of the bolts of lightning that strike the parks will be determined with data from the Brazilian Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Discharges (BrasilDat). Meteorological data from all areas of study will also be used. In the PNSCa and PNE the combustible materials will be characterized according to the class of vegetation, diameter, time elapsed since the last fire and the accumulation of biomass. Physical aspects of the landscape such as topography and the presence of barriers (rivers, roads) to the propagation of the fire will also be considered. The data will be integrated, processed and analyzed in a Geographical Information System (GIS). It is hoped to understand the interactions between the occurrence of bolts of lightning, combustibles, weather and landscape conditions in these parks. The results will contribute to understanding the dynamic of fire in the Cerrado and the electrical characteristics of the storms in those areas. It will also provide important information for the management plans of these parks, aimed at conservation of remnants of the Cerrado. (AU)

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