Global Palaeofire Working Group


The aim of the Global Charcoal Database (GCD) is to provide the scientific community a global palaeofire dataset for research and archiving sedimentary records of fire. 

Global syntheses have enabled the examination of broad-scale patterns in palaeofire activity, created a framework for exploring the linkages among fire, climate and vegetation at centennial-to-multi-millennial time scales and allows evaluation of fire model simulations at regional to global scales.

Science emerging from the GCD: the creation of a public-access database and an international research community with multiple-authored papers describing observed spatiotemporal changes in fire at global and regional scales (e.g. time series and maps)


View the PFD Data Access Policy

 UPDATED 13 May 2013


A proof of concept database was developed at the University of Oregon during Jennifer Marlon's dissertation work in 2004 under the guidance of Patrick Bartlein and Cathy Whitlock. This effort evolved quickly into the Global Palaeofire Working Group (GPWG) through a coordination team including Sandy Harrison, Mitchell Power (post-doc) and later Anne-Laure Daniau (post-doc).The GCD is a product of the GPWG created in 2006 as a result of discussions during the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP) Fast-Track Initiative on Fire. Project funding through the QUEST (Quantifying and Understanding Earth Systems) program of the UK Natural Environment Research Council, has enabled the GPWG to put together a global database of sedimentary charcoal records. The GPWG has grown to over 100 members over the last 7 years through workshops that have been supported by a number of national and international agencies, including QUEST and the IGBP Past Global Changes (PAGES), and Integrated Land Ecosystem–Atmosphere Processes Study (iLEAPS) programs. In 2007 the GPWG was part of the IGBP Cross-Project Initiative on Fire.  

Presently, the Global Charcoal Database is maintained by the Coordination Team and improved by GCD Member contributions.


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