Annual rainfall by month for Korkor Palau. Data from Western Regional Climate Center.
Palau Fires. Credit: Julian Dendy, USFS

The Republic of Palau comprises 250 islands at the western end of the Caroline Islands, approximately 500 miles due east of the Philippines. 

Human habitation and Biodiversity

The island group was settled approximately 3,000 years ago and the current population is over 20,000 centered mostly in the city of Koror.  Largely renowned for its marine ecosystems, Palau’s terrestrial ecosystems are also biologically diverse with high rates of species endemism and relatively large tracts of intact tropical rain forest.

Human-caused Fire, Ecological Effects and Seasonal Influences

Fire-prone savannas, dominated by native ferns, grasses and shrubs, occupy nearly 15% of Babeldaob, the largest island of Palau.  As elsewhere in Micronesia, these savannas were created and are maintained by intentional burning and create a complex forest-savanna mosaic landscape.  Palau experiences drier conditions annually during March and April, during which fires are most common.  Fire frequency and area burned increased dramatically during the severe drought associated with the 1998 El Niño event (2010 SWARS).

EROSION IN RE-PRONE SAVANNA LANDSCAPE ON PALAU. PHOTO: CLAY TRAUERNICHT
Erosion in re-prone savanna landscape on Palau. Credit: Clay Trauernicht

Palau Wildfires

The US Forest Service’s Pacific Island Research center’s Julian Dendy has mapped the extent of wildfires from 2012 – 2022.

Recent Resources for the Western Pacific

Presentation: Western Pacific Needs Assessment and Network (2022)

October 18, 2022

The Hawai`i Wildfire Management Organization presented a new on-going project, the “Western Pacific Needs Assessment and Network” to the Pacific Fire Exchange program’s quarterly steering committee meeting in October, 2022.

Presentation: Guam’s Wildfire Outlook (2022)

April 19, 2022

Christine Fejeran, Guam Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Soil Resources Division describes the wildfire threats to ecosystems and people on Guam, the on-going education challenges, and hopes for the future.…

Dynamics of Anthropogenic Wildfire on Babeldaob Island (Palau) as Revealed by Fire History

April 13, 2022

Read Article Here  Fire Ecology & Effects, Fire History, Western Pacific, Palau Dendy et al. compile the fire history mapping (2012 – 2021) for Babeldaob Island, Palau which reveals that…