A JFSP Fire Science Exchange Network
Bringing People Together & Sharing Knowledge in the Northern Rockies

Distinguishing disturbance from perturbations in fire-prone ecosystems

Author(s): Jon E. Keeley, Juli G. Pausas
Year Published: 2019

Fire is a necessary ecosystem process in many biomes and is best viewed as a natural disturbance that is beneficial to ecosystem functioning. However, increasingly, we are seeing human interference in fire regimes that alters the historical range of variability for most fire parameters and results in vegetation shifts. Such perturbations can affect all fire regime parameters. Here, we provide a brief overview of examples where anthropogenically driven changes in fire frequency, fire pattern, fuels consumed and fire intensity constitute perturbations that greatly disrupt natural disturbance cycles and put ecosystems on a different trajectory resulting in type conversion. These changes are not due to fire per se but rather anthropogenic perturbations in the natural disturbance regime.

Citation: Keeley JE and Pausas JG. 2019. Distinguishing disturbance from perturbations in fire-prone ecosystems. International Journal of Wildland Fire 28(4): 282-287. https://doi.org/10.1071/WF18203
Topic(s): Fire Ecology, Ecosystem Changes, Fire Effects, Ecological - Second Order, Invasive Species, Fire Regime
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 19441
Record updated: May 29, 2019