Log-periodic behavior in a forest-fire model
- 1Environmental Monitoring and Modelling Research Group, Department of Geography, King’s College London, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS, UK
- 2Center for Computational Science and Engineering, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
- 3Department of Geology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Abstract. This paper explores log-periodicity in a forest-fire cellular-automata model. At each time step of this model a tree is dropped on a randomly chosen site; if the site is unoccupied, the tree is planted. Then, for a given sparking frequency, matches are dropped on a randomly chosen site; if the site is occupied by a tree, the tree ignites and an "instantaneous" model fire consumes that tree and all adjacent trees. The resultant frequency-area distribution for the small and medium model fires is a power-law. However, if we consider very small sparking frequencies, the large model fires that span the square grid are dominant, and we find that the peaks in the frequency-area distribution of these large fires satisfy log-periodic scaling to a good approximation. This behavior can be examined using a simple mean-field model, where in time, the density of trees on the grid exponentially approaches unity. This exponential behavior coupled with a periodic or near-periodic sparking frequency also generates a sequence of peaks in the frequency-area distribution of large fires that satisfy log-periodic scaling. We conclude that the forest-fire model might provide a relatively simple explanation for the log-periodic behavior often seen in nature.