In many ecosystems, the occurrence of fire helps keep the habitat intact; examples of such habitats are the North American prairie and chaparral ecosystems, and the South African savanna. In these ecosystems, fire helps renew the habitat. In such systems, many plants have adapted and require fire to germinate.
If the fires are suppressed, inflammable debris accumulates. This debris burns less often but, when it does, the wildfires will be larger and more destructive.
In the United States, campaigns have made people believe that wildfires are always harmful to nature. This is based on the outdated belief that ecosystems grow towards an equilibrium; disturbances, such as fires disrupts the harmony of nature. More recently, research has shown that in some ecosystems, fire plays an important role to make the system work properly; fire also helps biodiversity of many habitats. The organisms in these communities have adapted to withstand, and even to exploit, natural wildfire.
Related pages[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- http://www.californiachaparral.com/firenature.html California Chaparral Institute: Wildfire in the Chaparral . accessed 9/29/2010
- Brockway D.G., R.G. Gatewood and R.B. Paris. 2002. Restoring fire as an ecological process in shortgrass prairie ecosystems: initial effects of prescribed burning during the dormant and growing seasons. Journal of Environmental Management 65:135-152.
- Graham, et al., page 4