There are three main types of fire in Fiji. Sugar cane farmers burn their fields to facilitate hand harvesting. Village farmers clear forest plots, fallow fields, and secondary vegetation for diverse crops using fire. And finally, the fires that cover the most ground are those set in the grasslands of the drier, lee-side of the islands. And of course there are occasionally fires that cause trouble – late last year I saw a major fire burning through the pine plantations in southeastern Viti Levu.
An exciting archaeological find by Bob Dewar  and colleagues suggests the presence of hunter-gatherers on Madagascar around 4000 years ago, which essentially doubles the length of the history of Madagascar’s human settlement. Their discovery, published in PNAS , suggests four thousand years of people living, burning, cultivating, shaping, transforming, and developing the island’s environment, instead of around two thousand . From a pyrogeography perspective, Dewar and colleagues make an important point towards the end of their paper: Read the rest of this entry »