World forest fire statistics for recent years show a clear and growing trend. The number and severity of forest fires is increasing significantly. This trend has increased awareness of the role of fire in ecosystem function, and has focused attention on the effects of fires on eco-geomorphic processes and watershed conditions. It is widely agreed that post-fire erosion rates have significantly increased in the past few decades owing to the coupled effect of the destruction of the vegetation cover, climate change, and physiochemical alternation in soil properties. Moreover, future changes in climatic conditions coupled with increased human stressors, especially in fire-prone regions, are likely to further increase fire risk and the consequent geomorphologic outcomes. Numerous interdisciplinary studies are currently being conducted world-wide addressing this issue.
The session on "Wildfire in Forest Landscapes: Desertification, Degradation, Debris Flows, & Damage Control", to be held within the European Geosciences Union 2009 Annual Meeting in Vienna, Austria, will be a remarkable opportunity to share results and present advances in understanding of the geomorphic impacts of wildfires. The session is aimed at discussing topics on the short and long term effects of forest fire on vegetation and soil properties, soil erosion, landscape desertification and degradation, fluvial and slope processes, shallow landslides, and soil and landscape restoration and conservation strategies. Investigations developed using experimental and laboratory studies, field measurements and quantification, modeling, and GIS mapping assessments are welcome.