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Fire ecology
Fire ecology

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4 Fire, habitat complexity and biodiversity

Many communities, populations and ecosystems are subjected to disturbances such as fire which, as you have seen, can play a significant role in shaping ecosystem structure to the extent that some populations may even cease to exist without fire. Fire disrupts the continuity of a biological community by reducing or eliminating species and populations from some areas in the landscape, and creates the conditions required for new species to move in – in other words, fire opens up gaps in a landscape where localised recolonisation of the burnt area can take place. In effect, disturbances such as fire return communities to the early colonising stages of ecological succession.