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People and the Land through TimeLinking Ecology and History, Second Edition$
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Emily W. B. Russell Southgate

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300225808

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300225808.001.0001

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Fire: Mimicking Nature

Fire: Mimicking Nature

Chapter:
(p.63) 5 Fire: Mimicking Nature
Source:
People and the Land through Time
Author(s):

Emily W. B. Russell Southgate

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300225808.003.0005

This chapter opens with a discussion naturally ignited fires and fire adaptations, which have evolved over millions of years. It then considers the role people have played over time in manipulating fire regimes, both locally and on a broad scale. Examples from diverse biomes such as the savannas and grasslands of South Africa and Madagascar, the forests of northern Europe and the grasslands and forests of North America provide evidence of the interactions between climate and human-set ignitions. The studies of the systems include analysis of a diverse range of evidence, including sediments, documents, and field evidence, analyzed using models that focus on patterns and processes of fire regimes under differing climates and human activities. The importance of perceptions of the role of fire is also discussed in terms of using fire for management, with examples of changes in attitude in North America from the 19th to the 21st centuries, which have led from seeing all fires as bad to valuing fire as a management tool. Analysis of the historical importance of human-set and natural fires has been critical to arriving at current management decisions.

Keywords:   wildfire, adaptions, savanna, grassland, forest, ignitions, fire management, climate

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