Fires and Mosaics

Fire is one of the most important agents of change across a landscape. Fire frequency and severity can modify the structure and the spatial distribution of patches. Land managers and ecologists have become involved in a significant debate related to the management of fire in order to mimic natural disturbance regimes. According to different biomes, fire recurrence can be from a few decades to 400 years or more. Human intrusion often increases the frequency of recurrence producing dramatic changes in vegetation patterns, although this is not the rule as demonstrated recently by Floyd et al. (2000) in the Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado (Fig. 4.6).

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