Fire

Fires may be the result of natural phenomena such as lightning or they may be man-induced. Usually natural fires are an integral part of plant community development and influence such things as soil nutrient availability and biological diversity. In contrast, uncontrolled or wildfires disrupt such processes and can have a catastrophic impacts. The vast majority of wildfires are intentionally set and often occur in conifer forests. In recent years extended droughts, together with the rapidly expanding exploitation of tropical forests and the demand for the conversion of forests to other land uses, have resulted in a dramatic increase in wildfires. While some conifers have evolved to be fire dependent by having serotinous cones that open and release their seed in response to fire, their populations are so small or fragmented that even natural fires may be catastrophic. This is particularly evident in areas with a Mediterranean climate. It is the introduction of inappropriate fire regimes (frequency, severity, or seasonal timing) that can have the most severe impact.

Taxa in the category - Fire:

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Podocarpus salignus D.Don

Podocarpus salignus is endemic to central and southern Chile where there has been reduction of its habitat due to landuse change. Read full species entry >

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Podocarpus transiens (Pilg.) de Laub. ex Silba

Native to Brazil where degradation of its habitat and tree cutting for firewood are causing decline of this species; fire and grazing of domestic animals are also a major threat. Read full species entry >

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Taiwania cryptomerioides Hayata

Taiwania has an unusual disjunct distribution with the main populations along the border between Yunnan and Myanmar (Gaoligong Mountains) and on Taiwan. There is also a small population in Việt Nam. Historical logging has reduced and fragmented the global population; forest conversion and fires threaten the Vietnamese locality.  Read full species entry >

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Tetraclinis articulata Mast.

A genus with a single species endemic to the western Mediterranean where, although not globally threatened, it is Critically Endangered in Spain and Malta due to fire  and grazing. Read full species entry >

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Torreya taxifolia Arn.

Restricted to a very small area in Florida and Georgia, USA where its dwindling population faces a number of threats, the most serious of which is a canker disease caused by Fusarium torreyae.  Read full species entry >

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Widdringtonia cedarbergensis J.A.Marsh

Endemic to South Africa where historical exploitation for its valuable timber and more recently fire have greatly reduced the population Read full species entry >

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Widdringtonia schwarzii (Marloth) Mast.

Endemic to the eastern Cape Province of South Africa where past over-exploitation has greatly reduced the population; today the major threats include wildfires Read full species entry >

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Widdringtonia whytei Rendle

Endemic to Mt. Mulanje in Malawi where historical logging has had a serious effect on the population; more recently illegal logging, fire, tourism and introduced pests have become serious threats. Read full species entry >

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