FIRE CONTROL AND ECOLOGICAL SUCCESSION IN McCARTY WOODS, HERNANDO COUNTY, FLOR IDA

Thomas D Fernald

Abstract


Forest fire has been traditionally viewed negatively, as an evil to be conquered. We speak of so many acres of forest being "destroyed" by wildfire, of "battles" won or lost by fire crews hired to prevent the loss of so many board-feet of timber, of lives lost fighting forest fires. This negative image of fire is often held by those attempting to preserve areas in their natural state, as well as by those with an economic interest in on-site resources. Until recently, the preservation of environmentally sensitive areas, when attempted, has entailed the suppression or elimination of fire. Fires, whether caused by natural factors such as lightning, or by human factors such as carelessness, vandalism, or design, play an important role in the ecology of these areas. Fire is just one element in the intricate ecological equation. Human modification of one side of this equation, however slight, has effects on the other. The effects can result in changes in the species composition of an area.


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