Fire and Vegetation Dynamics
It is almost dogma that the boreal forest in North America is a fire-dependent forest, yet ecologists often do not consider in any technical detail how forest fires produce effects on individual plants and on plant populations. Consequently, the causal connection between the behaviour of fire and its ecological consequences is poorly understood. This book sets out to correct this deficiency by assembling the relevant studies of fire intensity, rate of spread, fuel consumption, fire frequency and fire weather in the North American boreal forest. The central thesis is that the North American boreal forest has at least four wildfire characteristics that are important in understanding the dynamics of its plant populations: the large size of the burns with respect to dispersal distances, the short recurrence time of fire with respect to tree lifespans, the high mortality of plants due to the predominance of crown fires, and a good germination surface due to the large area of the forest floor which is covered by ash.