Christian N. Berlinck, Eugênia Kelly Luciano Batista
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Fire Ecology
Fire Effects

NRFSN number: 21632
FRAMES RCS Number: 61262
Record updated: August 5, 2020

Fire can be extremely harmful to sensitive ecosystems such as rainforests while maintaining the structure and composition of savanna environments. That is because historically, rainforest species have not been subjected to recurring fires requiring physiological and structural survival adaptations. In savannas, in turn, fire is a natural component that has shaped the species evolution for thousands of years. Natural lightning fires in savannas are usually of low intensity, more patchy, less extensive and have potential to control the fuel accumulation. On the other hand, wildfires, which usually occur late in the dry season and are caused by humans, are more intense, severe and extensive. Thus, fire exclusion policies in fire-prone ecosystems can trigger fire regimes that are incompatible with biodiversity conservation. From this perspective, environmental managers and policy makers have been looking for more efficient fire management practices in protected areas by introducing a more integrated and adaptive approach. The new practices have already shown significant results not only in reducing the areas hit by high severity fires but also in the costs involving firefighting operations. In this article, we discuss the dual character of fire and potential negative effects on biodiversity when presented under inappropriate regimes.


Berlinck, Christian N.; Batista, Eugênia K.L. 2020. Good fire, bad fire: it depends on who burns. Flora 268:151610.

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