Fire ecology : how fire is powerful ecological factor

Fire can be an ecological nature-shifter. The Earth with an all-encompassing aspect of livings in the human race. The Life produced the oxygen with the purpose of the burning require, and also provide known as firewood of the hydrocarbon so as to feed it.

When we discuss fire ecology two things circulate in our mind “fire” and “ecology”. First, the fire relates to the ashes flames or sometimes known as combustion of fuel. Secondly the thing ecology means living in a family. Sometimes we can say that combination of both living or nonliving things.

Many ecosystems facilitate many animals and plants to live in an area and these animals and plants interact with one another and with their physical environment. Fire is an innate component of these ecosystems.

In an ecosystem, wildfires are very important for the developmental process of plants. So the fire ecology is called the study of the relationship between wildfires and the ecosystem that occur naturally within them.

Significance of fire ecology

The fire has various vital functions contained by the fire-adapted ecosystem. There is some important role of fire in the structure of habitat, the cycling of nutrients, and the maintaining of diversity. There are many unexpected changes in the ecosystems that may lead to much unfavorable influence on animals and plants and on humans too that totally depend on habitat. This all is due to the repression of fire.

The fire can shape the ecosystem composition, and the structure and the function which is selected by the fire and the variation of species and the removal of other vulnerable species and from the biomass there are releasing of some nutrients and then improved the quality of nutrients cycling and they had a severe effect on soil and changed the activity of soil microbial and water relative and creating.

Fire elements

The ecologists use the term severity which refers to that the ecosystem has a major impact on fire. The fire could be burnt at three stages like

Ground fire

Will be on fire from end to end mud that is loaded with organic matter.

Surface fire

Will be on fire from end to end dead plant matter that is deceitful on the soil.

Fire on top

Will be on fire in the tops of Fire components of bushes and plant life.

Factors that are involved in forest fire 

 Background of Fire

The background history of fire is related with the study of fire and how it occurred on geographical area. At what time ecologists recorded this history we can see our past which is recently happens we see that trees give us information about fire in far-away past. On the trees there are some growth rings like structures are present on every year which tell us about the history of fire more about its beginning or ending. When fire begins on an area growth ring which is present on those trees might be scarred.

Fire dependence

Southern United States badgered about the negative aspects of fire in 1930. They had a firm belief about fire that it had only bad effects on everything or everywhere. After that it was realized that shocking photos captured after the fire produced had a sever effects on public’s minds. And it also generates injurious or harmful results in reaction to wild land fire.

Responses to fire ecology

Here are two different responses related with fire ecology:

Biotic response and adaptation

The plants have many adaptations to deal with fire. Pyriscence is known as the best adaptation from all these adaptations. In this adaptation there is the maturation of seed then the seed is released and triggered by the smoke or fire and this type of behavior is known as Otiny. Sometimes we confused about the germination of seed which is activated by trigger is also called pyriscence but actually it is known as physiological dormancy.

A biotic responses

In the system of living or non living organisms the fire refers to sudden or wide range effects. The soil is affected by heating and by the process of combustion. Everything has temperature dependent like soils heat up by combustion processes, by the evaporation of water different effects are happens at low temperature.

Causes of fire in nature

  • Its main cause is oxidation
  • Then also due to volatilization means when vapors run off toward up surface.
  • due to soil erosion
  • due to raise temperatures
  • due to the significant thrashing of nutrients

 Elevated rank of pH

When the level of pH elevated it consider that fire is behind this situation and this is due to the formation of CaCO3 and the following decomposition is mainly due to the conversion of CaCO3 to CaO when temperature goes on high range.  This might also be happens due to the increasing of cation in the soil due to flame for temporary increasing in pH case. The increasing of nutrients in soil and heating of soil increased the microbial activity too.

Flammable oil  

Flammable oil is present in some plants and the leave of these plants coated with flammable oil which promote sever fire. The fire activated seeds are germinated due to high intensity of heat and the young plants which left they can get advantage from this landscape due to the lack competition.

Some plants have such a different type of seeds when the smoke produced due to fire it activated the seeds and the buds for more fruits or seeds are activated by fire. A liquid type material resin is present in the cone of pine lodgepole are effectively known as pyriscent when fire begins it released seed by melting the resin.

Fire tolerance and intolerance species

Fire intolerance species

Firstly we discuss about the fire intolerance species. These species are extremely flammable species which mean that they are destroyed by fire entirely and have no more ability to grow or reproduced again. For example there are some plants like obligate seeders are intolerance species.

Fire tolerance species

Fire tolerance species are those species which have ability to grow or reproduced again after a sever fire. These types of plants are called as resprouters. Some ecologists give statement about resprouters that they have ability to store some additional power in roots to tolerance the high amount of heat. For example when an extreme fire occurred in Australia the grey gum tress survived because they produced a mass like structure which helps them to survive from heavy fire and help them to reproduce again.

Handling of microbes reptiles birds and Animals with fire ecology

  • Microbes also have huge range of ability to deal with fire like other plants and animals. The major difference of microbes from the plant is that for the survival from fire they stay away from the actual fire.
  • The birds are defenseless in nests when fire begins and to escape from fire they have wings to fly and during flying they captured the other pests which comes out from grounds or their burrows due to heat and when the fire are finished they came back made their nest again on the top of trees.
  • There are some evidences about anthropological present given by some ecologist that some species might be connected in planned fire promulgation.
  • Some mammals have ability to avoiding fire and they are looking for covering area if they are able to make burrows.
  • Some animals use ground for burrowing and the burrows of other animals to escaping from fire like amphibians and reptiles. Amphibians are also able to live in water or in wet area like watery mud so they move toward watery area for shelter.
  • Smoke which is released from the fire magnetizes some invertebrates like arthropods. Arthropods also obtain some type of protection from fire.
  • Some species are heat tolerance species like after heat some species get nutrients from the soil more as compared to before the fire. Like some microbes which live under the soil when the fire begins they move toward deeper area in soil and protect themselves from heat. Bacteria have more ability to tolerance heat.

Here are some benefits and drawbacks of Fire Ecology


  • The remaining ashes with the intention of adding nutrients are very affective for more vegetation.
  • When the trees burn it act as decay particles which give more nutrients to soil.
  • Fires can also supply a way for scheming creepy-crawly pests by slaughter off the older ones.
  • The destroy trees give shelter to mammals and nest for birds and nutrients to soil.


  • Soil damaged.
  • The environment was affected badly
  • Animals died every year due to fire
  • Combustion of more fuel in air

[1]The ecology of natural disturbance and patch dynamics. Pick ett, Stewar d T., 1950-, White, P. S.[2]W esterling, A. L.; Hidalgo, H. G.; Ca y an, D . R.; Swetnam, T. W . (200608-18). “W arming and Earlier Spring Incr ease W estern U.S. F or est Wildfir e Activity “. Science . 313 … Continue reading[3]Managing fire-pr one for ests in the western United States” . F r ontiers in E cology and the Envir onment . 4 (9): 481–487. doi:10.1890/15409295(2006)4[481:MFFI T W ]2.0.CO;2 . ISSN … Continue reading

Written by: Dr. Muhammad Mohsin Ahsan

Reviewed by:
Dr. Muhammad Tahir Ph.D. (PU)
Post Doctorate

American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA


1The ecology of natural disturbance and patch dynamics. Pick ett, Stewar d T., 1950-, White, P. S.
2W esterling, A. L.; Hidalgo, H. G.; Ca y an, D . R.; Swetnam, T. W . (200608-18). “W arming and Earlier Spring Incr ease W estern U.S. F or est Wildfir e Activity “. Science . 313 (5789): 940– 943.
3Managing fire-pr one for ests in the western United States” . F r ontiers in E cology and the Envir onment . 4 (9): 481–487. doi:10.1890/15409295(2006)4[481:MFFI T W ]2.0.CO;2 . ISSN 1540-9309
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