Burning Planet: The story of fire through time

Research output: Book/ReportBook


As humans increasingly move into
cities, habitations encroach on flammable
landscapes, and climate change and
invasive plants we have introduced alter
those landscapes, we need more than ever
an understanding of fire in the context of its
role in the history of the planet. Is wildfire
always a bad thing?
To understand wildfire, Andrew Scott
explains, we need to appreciate its history
stretching back 400 million years. It was
Scott who established the identity of fossil
charcoal in rocks—our main clue to fires
in the deep past. In this book he describes
how we have in recent decades pieced
together the story of fire through time.
Through wood, leaves, and flowers
beautifully preserved in fossil charcoal,
we can catch glimpses of the vegetation
millions of years ago, and the frequency
and intensity of the fires recorded give
us clues to the climate and the amount
of oxygen in the atmosphere at the time.
The record of fire on Earth tells us that fire
has played a role in shaping the planet since
vegetation spread on land. And it also
records evidence that wildfires increase
at times of rapid climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages224
ISBN (Print)978-0-19-873484-0
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2018

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