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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Environmentalists: American forests lacking fire


A group of researchers under the leadership of Michael Stambaugh from the University of Missouri, made a rather unexpected statement: according to experts, human activity could harm the ecosystem of some forest that the number of fires in them has decreased. Until now, the environmentalists, for the most part, saw the situation in the opposite way: it was believed that the people of fires has increased, and it is because of this forest suffer.

To the somewhat paradoxical at first glance, the conclusion scientists have come, having studied the annual rings 332 very old trees growing in different areas of the U.S. States of Oklahoma and Tennessee. Between the rings ” was discovered 843 trace of burning. These traces, in turn, helped professionals to understand how often each of the eight studied areas, there were major forest fires over the past 300 years.

As a result, the researchers came to the conclusion that large fires occurred frequently in the studied areas of the forests before there came the settlers from Europe. Moreover, scientists say that in some areas inhabited by people, fires became less, as people sought to prevent them.

Based on the obtained data, the researchers made several conclusions. First, according to them, forest fires play an important role in maintaining forest ecosystems in a healthy condition. However, this, according to the researchers, the second conclusion: if the forest fires are necessary, without them, its ecosystem suffers. This is what is happening in the Eastern part of the continent where the human effort of major forest fires can be avoided successfully for the past 150 years, scientists say.

In the future, experts hope to conduct a similar but much larger study, in which it is possible to compile and document the history of forest fires across America.

Scientific work, written for the current study published in the journal Fire Ecology.

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