By Joseph J. Bailey, University of Nottingham, UK.
Wildfires often occur as part of a natural cycle and they are important for the health of many ecosystems across the world by making the soil more suitable for seeding, for example. Indeed, many species (especially plants) have specific adaptations to wildfires such as fire-activated seeds and thermal insulation, while others rely on fires clearing space for their seedlings to grow (e.g. S. giganteum). The cause of wildfires may be natural or human-mediated (more information), and burning vegetation to make space for agricultural land, and as a means of managing natural fires, is common in many parts of the world (FAO).
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center Archive: Fire and Smoke, Democratic Republic of the Congo (NASA, International Space Station, 05/16/02) obtained via Flickr under a CreativeCommons License (link to source).
Two key processes have the…
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