Why wildfires are necessary - Jim Schulz
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Douglas Fir has evolved a variety of characteristics that make it fire tolerant. One in particular is its fire resistant bark that thickens with age creating an insulating layer that protects the growing cambium.
Ponderosa pine has also developed several strategies to cope with wildfire. Among them are its ability to self prune or shed its lower branches as it grows. This minimizes fire reaching the crown. Its super thick, corky bark is built in layers that peel off when burned. The heat resistant tiles of the space shuttle were based on this natural design.
Quaking Aspen is a deciduous tree and is among the most common trees in North America. It is not fire tolerant but relies on fire to disrupt the hormones that inhibit its root growth as well as heating soil temperatures to assist in the production of sprouts.
For more on fire ecology, visit this site. Fire can actually be beneficial to a forest, watch this video: Fire Behavior and Ecological Restoration. This TED Ed lesson also has information on wildfires and their value to a forest.
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