You are on page 1of 4

A Summary of Fire, Ecosystems, and People Megan Krywanczyk SUNY PLATTSBURGH ENV214

Today it is important that we understand the relationship between people, fire, and our environment. Why is this important? Today fires are acting different because of human involvement. Fires have been used as a survival tool by humans today and in the past, but fire is also used in maintaining biodiversity, as well as shaping and maintaining ecosystems. Twenty-five percent of the terrestrial world assessed exhibits intact fire regimes. Also a lot of the fire regimes have been altered by different causes. Fire management and knowledge about the relationship between fire, people, and our environment is very important today for numerous reasons. Without the knowledge fire can be harmful and dangerous. Fire is a global conservation issue. The impacts and benefits of fire are limitless. A majority of terrestrial habitats depend on fire. Fire is also a determinant in nutrient and carbon fluxes, water retention in soil, and disruption in habitats (Shlisky et. al., 2007). Some habitats even depend on fire without it the habitat lacks biodiversity, and has increased vegetation density which can lead to dangerous fires. To little, to much, or the wrong kind of fire introduced into an environment can have negative effects. The important of this lead to the development of The United Nations Millennium Development Goals. In 2000, 189 nations included this goal to ensure environmental sustainability. Fire as a global conservation issue has benefits while ignoring fire as a global conversation issue may have many consequences (Shlisky et. al., 2007). Fire plays a major role in society and in ecosystems. There are fire-independent, fire-dependent, and fire-sensitive ecosystems. A fire-dependent ecosystem is an ecosystem where fire is an essential process for the conversation of biodiversity. Fire-sensitive ecosystems are ecosystems where fire plays a secondary role in maintaining the ecosystem.

Fire may have a negative impact of fire-sensitive ecosystems. Fire-independent ecosystems are ecosystems which lack fuel or ignition sources to support a fire. All of this needs to be understood in order to use fire effectively (Shlisky et. al., 2007). The collaboration of science also leads to and understanding of fire ecology. It also leads to understanding threats and strategies for management. The Global Fire Partnership gathers information about fire regimes (Shlisky et. al., 2007). In 2004 they gathered fire experts and policy makers to discuss fire regimes and biodiversity conservation. This is where a scale of how beneficial or harmful fire can be to biodiversity. More workshops were performed by the GFP after 2004. They found that 53% of the global terrestrial is fire-dependent, 22% is fire-sensitive, and 15% is fire-independent (Shlisky et. al., 2007). Maintaining the ecological role of fire is threatened. Some of the threats include urban development, livestock farming, fire, fire suppression, resource extraction, and climate change (Shlisky et. al., 2007). The top threat in a majority of habitats is urban development. Other threats to maintain the ecological role of fire are lack of sufficient knowledge and fire management, invasive species, and gathering of terrestrial plants that alter fuels (Shlisky et. al., 2007). Case studies, fire management in Mexico, and strategies for global biodiversity conservation are also wrote about in the article. Knowledge about the relationship between fire, people, and our environment is very important for biodiversity, fire management, and for using fire as a survival tool. Without knowledge and efficient management fire can be a dangerous and harmful tool.

References Shlisky, A., J. Waugh, P. Gonzalez, M. Gonzalez, M. Manta, H. Santoso, E. Alvardo, A. Ainuddin Nuruddin, D.A. Rodriguez-Trejo, R. Swaty, D. Schmidt, M. Kaufmann, R. Myers, A. Alencar, F. Kearns, D. Johnson, J. Smith, D. Zollner and W. Fulks, 2007. Fire, Ecosystems, and People: Threats and Strategies for Global Biodiversity Conservation. GFI Technical Report 2007-2. The Nature Conservancy. Arlington, VA.