We have all heard of the disastrous effects of forest fires, and perhaps even witnessed their destruction. Even though forest fires are thought of as a natural disturbance, and not a disaster, they are still capable of inflicting damage. Many factors can influence the start of a forest fire, rate at which it spreads, and the ultimate damage inflicted. Much of these factors however, have to do with the morphology of the primary species involved, and the time of the year. This means that in thinking of how to prepare for the forest fire season, there are precautions we can take in different areas to help ward off the flames.
In a recent publication in the Journal of Plant Biology, Seo and Choung record their findings of the differences that account for the increased frequency of fire in PInus densiflora stands as opposed to Quercus variabilis stands, and the associated damage in Korea. There was found to be a larger coverage percentage of the shrub layers of the trees for the pine forests than in the Q. variabilis, or oak stands, due to associated plants of each type of forest. The low hanging branches of the pine species, as well as the thinner bark also contribute to its likelihood to set fire and maintain a higher intensity especially in the dry season of Spring. These factors coupled with the associated lower level shrubs increase the chance of a vertical spread of the flame in the P. densiflora to completely engulf the forests.
Some suggested steps to take at this point is to reduce the overall amount of P. densiflora so that the damage could be reduced. In fact, the authors make a suggestion that firebreak stands should be introduced to the area by human doing if natural means do not account in the future regrowth of the recent 24,000Ha(240,000,000m) fire. The steps to take around the world whether with these species or other similar dry forests are to include firebreak stands. It is likely that such fiery natural disturbances can be somewhat unavoidable. One could wonder if there are possibilities in the future to reduce such effects of forest fire.
Posted by Michael Dailing(4-A)