The Ecology of Fire

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Cambridge University Press, Aug 10, 1995 - Nature - 346 pages
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How wildfires affect animal and plant populations is a complex ecological issue. Robert Whelan examines fire as an ecological agent and discusses how populations of organisms are affected by its passage. Drawing examples from several continents, the author studies the impact of fires on individual organisms, populations, and communities. He looks at the effects on ecological processes such as predator-prey, and plant-herbivore interactions, and summarizes the major aspects of ecology that are of particular importance to fire control--both protection against wildfires and fire as a management tool. This book is unique in its emphasis on general ecological principles rather than regional treatment, and it will be of interest to ecologists, foresters, and other land managers.
 

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Contents

Fire ecology an introduction
1
Some definitions
7
Fire the phenomenon
8
The chemicalphysical reaction
10
Ignition in the field
23
Fire behaviour
29
Fire regime
45
Outstanding questions
55
Longterm studies and models
196
Outstanding questions
198
Animal populations
200
Mortality caused by fire
201
Postfire population changes
202
Mechanisms of postfire population change
217
Explaining different patterns of population response
227
Outstanding questions
231

Survival of individual organisms
57
Tolerance of plants to fire
58
Tolerance of animals to fire
104
Importance of characteristics of fire
116
Evolutionary responses to fire
118
Outstanding questions
134
Approaches to population studies
135
Assessment of population change caused by a fire
138
Population change and fire regime
146
Conclusion
150
Plant populations
151
Density of germination
161
Seedling survivorship and establishment
180
Community responses to fire
233
Direct measures of community attributes
236
Variation in fire regime
267
Mechanisms of community change
280
Outstanding questions
292
Fire and management
294
Defining the objectives of management
296
Prescribing fire regimes for ecological reasons
303
Research and monitoring
307
References
309
Index
345
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