Fire Ecology

John Parminter

in Ecology

ISBN: 9780199830060
Published online May 2012 | | DOI:
Fire Ecology

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  • Applied Ecology (Environmental Science)
  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Plant Ecology
  • Zoology and Animal Sciences



Abiotic natural disturbance agents include wildfire, wind, landslides, snow avalanches, volcanoes, flooding, and other weather-related phenomena. Fire is of particular interest because of its antiquity, its natural role in many terrestrial ecosystems, its long-term use by humans to modify vegetation, and its potentially serious threat to life and property. Fire ecology is the art and science of understanding natural and human fire history and fire effects on the environment, species, ecosystems, and landscapes. This knowledge aids the development of fire and ecosystem management plans and activities. Fire history is determined by a number of techniques that use available physical or cultural evidence to examine particular temporal and spatial scales. Fire effects on the environment and organisms are determined by observation and experimentation, but the findings are variable and often contradictory. Fire regimes are used to characterize the role of fire in specific ecosystems and can help guide ecosystem restoration activities. Attitudes toward fire have evolved over time, as good and bad experiences combined with improved scientific understanding to influence our perspectives. Natural disturbances came to be viewed as integral parts of ecosystems rather than external perturbations. We now strive to allow fire to maintain its natural role in wilderness areas and parks and also to emulate natural disturbances, such as fire, when designing forest harvesting operations. This article focuses on how and what we know about fire’s history, its effects on different components of the environment, its role in specific vegetation types, and its relationship with human culture.

Article.  13365 words. 

Subjects: Applied Ecology (Environmental Science) ; Ecology and Conservation ; Plant Ecology ; Zoology and Animal Sciences

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