Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Mathematisch-Naturwissen­schaft­liche Fakultät - International Research Training Group 1740

Project 17

Reducing uncertainties in scenarios of deforestation and human-caused fires

About the project:

Fires in the Amazon are concentrated in new frontier areas along the arc of deforestation. Building of roads opens access to further deforestation, and fire is used to burn the debris after valuable timber has been taken out. As human-caused ignitions increase when forest is converted to pasture or agricultural land, the uncertainty in quantifying these causes need to be reduced in order to improve estimates of resulting large-scale fire emissions.


  • Analyze how the road network and distance to roads influences human-caused fires in the Amazon.
  • Develop and implement new modeling approaches to quantify human-caused ignitions in land conversion situations
  • Improve estimates of fire-caused carbon emissions for correct simulation of the climate-vegetation feedback as well as the analysis of tipping points
  • Evaluate scenarios of different fire impacts with network analysis


  • Dr. Kirsten Thonicke
    Head of the group “Ecosystem stability and dynamics” at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
  • Ana Cano Crespo
    PhD student in geography (starting 1st of February 2012). I obtained a M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences (Ecohydrology) at the University of Salamanca. At the University of Twente I recently finished a Postgraduate Diploma Course in Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation for Water Resources and Environmental Management.

Associated Members:

  • Prof. Dr. Friedrich-Wilhelm Gerstengarbe
    Professor at the Institut of Geography at Humboldt-University Berlin and Head of the research domain “Climate impacts and vulnerability” at PIK
  • Dr. Anja Rammig
    Researcher in the group “Ecosystem stability and dynamics” at PIK
  • Dr. Manoel Cardoso
    Researcher at INPE and the Brazilian Earth System Science Center in the field of Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions