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Forest fires are growing in size and frequency across the tropics. But the environmental importance of such fires has been periodically rediscovered and forgotten over the past century.

Following the fires in Indonesia in 1983 there was a flood of new material in the literature. But much of it was merely an echo of work on fires in African forests dating back to the 1940s.

In this review article Mark A. Cochrane of Michigan State University, United States, draws the disparate strands of forest fire research together, and suggests how a more coherent approach might be developed.

Link to full Nature review article

Reference: Nature 421, 913 (2003)

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