Fire ecology
Fire ecology

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Fire ecology

Glossary

fire climax communities
A climax community of vegetation that is maintained by periodic fires.
fire regime
The temporal and spatial characteristics of the fire and the impact it has on the landscape.
fire severity
A measure of the impact of a fire on the ecosystem in terms of the degree to which the ecosystem is altered or disrupted by fire.
surface fires
Fires that burn only the lowest vegetation layer which may be composed of grasses, low shrubs, herbs, mosses and lichens (surface fuels). In forest ecosystems surface fires are often called understory fires.
crown fires
Fires that burn the upper tree or shrub canopy. In most cases the understory is also burned. Depending on the species, a crown fire may or may not be lethal to all dominant vegetation. A crown fire may be continuous burning the whole canopy (active crown fire) or occur in patches so only the crowns of individual or small groups of trees burn (passive crown fire).
mixed severity fires
Fires that contain elements of both surface and crown fires in time and space so that in some areas there is little damage to overstory vegetation, other areas exhibit considerable overstory damage but not complete stand replacement and in other areas, stand replacement occurs.
fire frequency
The recurrence of fire in a given area (number of fires per unit time).
epicormic sprouting
Resprouting of new shoots from buds beneath the bark on the trunk or branches of trees.
lignotubers
A rounded woody growth at or below ground level on some shrubs and trees that grow in areas subject to fire or drought. They contain a mass of buds from which new stems sprout and food reserves in the form of starch.
serotiny
Delayed seed release by retaining the seeds in a woody structure.
pyrophilic insects
Insects attracted to fire.
ecological succession
(1) Directional change in ecosystem structure and functioning resulting from biotically driven changes in resource supply. (2) The process of change in species structure of an ecological community over time.
intermediate disturbance hypothesis
Proposes that species diversity is maximised if disturbance is neither too rare or too frequent.
patch mosaic burning
Strategy where fire is manipulated to create a mosaic of patches representative of a range of fire histories to generate heterogeneity across space and time.
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