Forest fire, usually referred to as wildfire, is a natural phenomenon that occurs due to disturbances created by nature such as lightning strikes. They can be quite deadly and destructive. They destroy wildlife habitats, timber, and causing acute pollution of the environment with emissions harmful to human health. However, forest fire has many important environmental benefits too. The occasional Forest Fires contribute to the overall health of the forest. They typically burn the lower branches and clear deadwood. Therefore, it improves the floor habitat for many species.
Some of the important benefits of forest fire are:
Forest Fires Serves As Important Habitat
There are many species that benefit from forest fire such as the Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus). Moreover, these species are accustomed to live and grow in forests that have experienced severe burning. The Black-backed Woodpecker primarily feeds on the larvae of the beetles that inhabit the dying and dead trees after the wildfire. It also excavates holes in the dead trees to build its nest. Therefore, it serves as an important wildlife habitat for a myriad of species.
Benefits To Plants
A healthy forest also contains dead and decaying trees and plant matters. However, when a forest fire occurs, it turns them to ashes and releases the nutrients to the soil. It also clears the thick growth of the forest floor and enables the growth of newer species. Furthermore, it helps in eliminating the growth of the invasive weeds and keeps the growth of the older species active. Therefore, many wildflowers bloom in an abundant rate. Forest fire also produces fireweeds that help in restoring the vegetation of a burnt site. The fireweeds are also responsible for importing new colors to a forest.
Forest Fires Improves Biodiversity
The occasional burning of the forest ensures an increase in biodiversity by inducing certain environmental changes. Therefore, the plant and animal communities that are adapted to fire are boosted. Trees such as Jack pines and giant sequoias have thick bars that are also fire resistant. There are also many fire-dependent trees such as pine and eucalyptus. These trees utilize the tall crowns to keep the flammable leaves and dead branches away from the fire. The pine cone spines act as a shell to protect the seeds. However, these environmental changes make sure that only the strongest ones survive.
Decreases Fuel Accumulation
Intermittent burning reduces substantially the annual fuel accumulation in grasslands and forests. Therefore, it decreases the risk of fuel generating greater fires and the environment is less likely to face the chance of catastrophic wildfires. Moreover, this is one of the preventive cares of the forest that helps in putting a stop to long-term damage and maintains the ecological balance.
Financial Benefits Of Forest Fires
Controlled forest fires have many financial benefits too. Moreover, the mechanical thinning, which involves the logging of small-diameter trees in order to reduce density and underbrush, involves huge expense. Therefore, the prescribed burns are much less expensive.