After the Wildfire
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- 18" x 36"
- 18" x 24"
- 18" x 36"
- 20" x 40"
- 24" x 30"
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A Wildfire has huge hidden benefits to our ecological system. I think we have all heard about the hundreds of fires that have occurred and may still be raging. Indeed, many have suffered loss of both homes and property. These tragic losses obscure the fundamental necessity of the wildfire.
Although wildfires are destructive forces, they often occur naturally. Did you know that certain plants and animals depend on periodic wildfires for ecological balance? Even prescribed burns can mimic the benefits of wildfires. In fact, they can lower the risks associated with larger, uncontrolled fires. In many instances, forest fires are natural occurrences that play a vital role of renewal in the cycle of forest life.
Moreover, fires often remove alien plants that compete with native species for nutrients and space. After the wildfire, the forest floor is exposed to more sunlight, allowing seedlings released by the fire to sprout and grow. Subsequently, this supports the growth of native species.
Furthermore, several plants actually require fire to move along their life cycles. In addition, during wildfires, the nutrients from dead trees are returned to the soil. Forest landscapes are dynamic and can change in response to disturbances, often creating healthier landscapes as a result.
Additional Benefits After the Wildfire
Aside from having direct benefits for the trees in the forest, fire also can have positive effects on wildlife. When fire burns heavy undergrowth it allows for new grasses, herbs, and shrubs to regenerate. This provides food and habitat for many wildlife species.
Additionally, when heavy undergrowth is removed, there is more water readily available because less plants are there to absorb it. This can cause streams to be fuller benefiting other plants and animals.
In fact, research has shown that smaller fires can remove underbrush, clear the forest floor of debris, open it up to sunlight, and nourish the soil. This reduces competition in the forest which in turn allows trees to grow stronger and healthier. In fact, this allows for new species to grow in areas where they couldn’t before and can help make our forest more diverse. Historically forests had fewer trees. Hence the trees that were there were stronger and healthier and grew larger. Currently, our forests often have more trees than we’ve seen in the past, but those trees are often stressed or diseased.
Nature needs fire, and ecologically benefits from periodic burning. In fact, suppression alone might make matters worse, depriving nature of its equivalent of spring cleaning and leading to hotter, larger blazes when built-up forest decay finally catches flame.
After the Wildfire – an acrylic abstract
This acrylic painting titled “After the Wildfire” is a reminder that there is a natural order to wildfires and beauty may abound by the cleansing of a wildfire. In summary, it might seem counterintuitive that a fire, which burns plant life and endangers animals within an ecosystem, could promote ecological health. But fire is a natural phenomenon, and nature has evolved with its presence. Many ecosystems benefit from periodic fires, because they clear out dead organic material—and some plant and animal populations require the benefits fire brings to survive and reproduce.
You can learn more about the benefits of wildfires from the below 2 links:
Dare to Feel,
Red (Linda Harrison)
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