Fire as a Ecological Factor
Fire as a ecological factor brings sudden changes in the ecosystem.It destroy the ecosystem life and affect the whole ecosystem,like plants,animals etc.Fire Factor is related to the environmental factor which included in Autecology.
Fire:Fire as a Ecological Factor
Fire is a chemical reaction that gives of light and heat.
Introduction: (Fire Ecology)
Food is usually cooked to improve its taste and also kill any disease causing organism which may be in it. This cooking make fire a very crucial thing to our survival because man cannot survive without food and most of the food eaten by man have to be cooked. (Fire Ecology)
Centuries people have considered, fire in forests and grasslands as destructive but research during past 30 years has revealed that properly used or light fires can ecological tool of Great Value.
Fire is most important in forest and grassland of North America Indonesia Australia and South and East Africa.
So Ecology fire is defined as” fire is a factor that brings sudden changes in ecosystem”.
Ecology is the study of relationship of living organism today environment. However Autecology is defined as “the study of relationship of single population to its environment is called Autecology”.
Environmental factors:Fire as a Ecological Factor
In environmental factors there is included many abiotic factors which are:
Out of these environmental factors the five factors is discussed here
Conditions for setting of a fire:(Fire Ecology)
There are three conditions are necessary for the setting of a fire.
i) accumulation of dry organic matter sufficient to burn.
ii) dry weather condition to render the material combustible.
iii) source of ignition.
Source of ignition:
There are three main causes or sources of ignition.
It is natural cause or source, lightning has been the most common source of ignition, when lightning stroke hit the ground, the drive material is kindled and fire set off.According to one estimate 70% of the forest fire are caused by lightning.
It is the most frequent cause of fire. Man often sets fire deliberately to modify the environment for his own ends, such as to clear ground for agriculture, play and area for housing societies and road construction, improve condition for hunting etc.
Sometime fire exit due to carelessness of man easy (e.g. Throwing of cigarette butt).
iii) Friction between trees:
Sometime mainly in forests fires developed due to mutual friction between trees (bamboo etc.).
Types of Fire
There are three different types of Fire.
- Surface fire
- Crown fire
- Ground fire
a) Surface fire:Fire as a Ecological Factor
Surface fire flame less . It is low level fire that usually burn only underground and leaf litter on the first floor. It sweep ground surface rapidly. Fire skill seedling and small trees but do not kill most mature trees.
Wildlife can usually escape from these slow burning fire.
b) Crown fire:
Crown fire having flames (extremely hot fire) that burn ground vegetation and trees tops. IT damages 1000 hectors of forests. An intensive surface fire driven by strong winds, leap up into the canopy. This rapidly burning fire can destroy all vegetation.
In case of crown fire there is no chances or very less chances to escape wildlife. These fires kill wildlife and lead to accelerated soil erosion.
c) Ground fire:
It is a flameless fire. It attacks on dead organic remains and on debris etc. Because it is flameless it is continuous for many days and are very difficult to extinguish.
Effect of Fire
There are many effect of Fire, which is harmful and also ecologically beneficially important for forest.
Harmful effect: (Fire Ecology)
i) Sudden change in ecosystem:
Fire is a factor that brings sudden change in system. Destroy and system by destroying primary producer and killing out consumers.
ii) Change in temperature:
Sudden change in temperature and it must be noted that temperature that prevail, when fire in progress may reach up to 1300 degree Fahrenheit.
iii) Soil microorganisms:
Due to increase in temperature, the soil microorganisms which are chief agent of decomposition are killed. Their survival and activity is decreased and they are killed, so no decomposition take place.
Fire is useful but also very dangerous because destroy many things and cause houses trees and many other things to burn into Ashes. Fire destroys forest, huge area in a matter of minutes.
v) Bare area:
When fire occur in vegetation cover area, the vegetation is burn and after the fire that area become bare.
vi) Soil erosion:
Due to bare surface of soil, the chances of soil erosion increases so fire causes soil erosion and leaching of top soil.
vii) Air pollution:
Fire causes air pollution especially crown fire. The Flames and smoke have many particles in it which spread into atmosphere and cause air pollution.
Beneficial effects:( Fire Ecology)
Control surface fires on light fires are beneficial in many respects.
i) Seed germination:
Stimulate the germination of certain tree seeds, several kinds of legume and grass seeds that is in the dormant form present and soil, fire help to germinate the seeds. The hard seed coat burst and seed germinate on favorable condition.
ii) Nitrogen fixation increases:
Fire increases the activity of nitrogen fixing bacteria. Fire creep the forest floor surface and hence nitrogen fixing bacteria increases its activity because the direct contact with the atmosphere by creeping waste product on them. These bacteria form nitrogen soil.
iii) Prevent from destructive fire:
In forests where ground litter accumulates rapidly, a surface fire every 4 to 5 year is essential, because it burns away flammable material and thereby helps to prevent to more destructive crown and ground fires.
iV) Nutrients recycling:
Fire reduces dead organic matter to soluble ash and releases important nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium etc.
V) Control of diseases:
Surface fire can be used to control outbreaks of tree diseases and pests. Many pathogens are killed due to fire and help to control disease to spread.
Vi) Favoring of Survival species:
Fire helps in regulating ecosystem by elimination of certain species and favoring the survival and growth of desired species.
Vii) Regenerative for forest:
Wildfires, when allowed to burn in areas where they do not impact human development, are regenerative for the forest, revitalizing for the watershed, renew the soil and rest the clock for the ecosystem. As a researcher on Wildfire and streams let recount the many ways that natural Wildfire is beneficial.
Viii) Soil fertility:
Fire a great way of clearing out the clutter. They can break down nutrients and Minerals in burning plants and other debris such as old logs, leaves and dense undergrowth and restore them to the soil, thus making for more fertile area.
ix) Good for ecosystem:
Fires are natural and necessary part of the ecosystem. Even healthy forest contain dead trees and decaying plant matter, when a fire turns them to ashes, nutrients returned to the soil instead of remaining captive in old vegetation.
x) Improve quality of forage:
By using the control fire, we improve them, new shoots are evolved from bud and quality of forage become well. the quality of forage because when upper part of plant or burn.