FLAME TO SHELD OR FLEE
In recent years, massive bushfires have sadly claimed the lives of people and destroyed their homes. As our warmer and drier environment increases the frequency, intensity, and scale of fires, these occurrences are becoming more frequent. But these impacts are not limited only to humans. Our native animals and plants are affected by fire as well. Some animals have also been forced to the brink of extinction by the way the habits of fire have changed. Recent forest fires have all resulted in a devastating toll on endangered species and unique habitats. Current burning is similarly related to a conservation disaster and can cause permanent harm to these unique ecosystems. In fact, many species need fire. Fire heat can stimulate certain fungi, such as multiple mushrooms, to release spores. Some plants can only be seeded after a blaze. And some species, such as mule deer and black-backed woodpeckers, need burning areas to be eaten and nestled. Without fire, these species cannot reproduce—and anything that depends on them will be affected. The majority of forest animals have some means of escaping the sun. Birds may fly away, mammals may run, and amphibians and other small creatures may burrow into the earth, hide in logs, or cover under rocks. And other species, including big ones like elk, will take shelter in rivers and lakes. Fire seasons are lengthening, and fires are burning hotter, spreading faster, and consuming more land. Not only are forest fires becoming more serious, but many species are losing habitat. Since these species have already declined and depend on habitat that hasn't been burned in a long time, a single fire may wipe out entire populations. Other threats may have triggered the declines, making species more vulnerable to burning. Habitat depletion, disease, and introduced predators are among them. As a result, it's important that environmental strategies take into account threats' interactions. Captive breeding and the development of insurance populations are often required when a species has just a few individuals left.
Entomology, Ornithology & Herpetology: Current Research,
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