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Open Ecosystemsecology and evolution beyond the forest edge$
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William J. Bond

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198812456

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198812456.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 08 December 2021

Fire and open ecosystems

Fire and open ecosystems

(p.97) Chapter 7 Fire and open ecosystems
Open Ecosystems

William J. Bond

Oxford University Press

Can fire account for the widespread occurrence of open ecosystems? This chapter explores fire as a major consumer shaping vegetation in diverse regions worldwide. The concept of fire regime helps explain the diverse influences of fire on vegetation structure. Fire regimes select compatible growth forms from the species pool. These, in turn, create the fuel which in large part determines the fire regime. Experimental evidence can show whether fire is a major determinant of vegetation structure or merely an emergent property of ecosystems determined by climate and soils. Whether fires consume closed forests or stop at their margins will determine the dominant vegetation in mosaic landscapes. A mechanistic framework for analysing processes influencing fire effects on the boundary is introduced with examples. Pyrophilic open systems in mosaics with pyrophobic closed forests have been considered as examples of Alternative Stable States. Recent evidence for the patterns and processes expected by ASS theory are discussed.

Keywords:   fire ecology, fire regime, flammability, pyrophilic, pyrophobic

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