Florida ecosystems have evolved with fire as a part of their system. Without periodic and regular exposure to fire, Florida’s ecosystems often become unbalanced.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the US embarked on a nationwide effort to suppress fire in our natural areas due to the threat it presented to society and the perceived threat to the environment. Unfortunately, this led to a buildup of fuels and overgrowth of forest understory (or in other words, overgrown and weedy forests) which reduced species diversity and increased the threat of dangerous wildfires.
Today, Florida has a robust prescribed fire program to help mimic the natural fires our Florida ecosystems would experience if we weren’t here. Prescribed fires help improve habitat and reduce the threat of wildfire. Listen to this month’s podcast episode for more information!
New Episode from Naturally Florida
Naturally Florida (a podcast about Florida’s natural areas and the wild things that live here) recently released a new episode about prescribed fire in Florida. Check it out, below, or on your favorite podcast platform.
In this episode, we explore fire in Florida, what ecosystems burn and why, the history and current state of fire in Florida, and some neat adaptations found in plants and animals of fire-depended ecosystems.
If you enjoyed this episode, please consider sharing it with a friend who might enjoy learning about Florida’s natural areas and the wild things that live here!
You can find all the podcast platforms where Naturally Florida is published, submit feedback, or request future topics at www.naturallyfloridapodcast.com
- Fire and Habitat – https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/archive/hot_topics/environment/fire_habitat.shtml
- Effects of Fire on Florida’s Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat – https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/uw132
How You Can Help:
Consider Creating a Firewise Landscape –
These documents outline actions homeowners can take to better prepare their landscape for a possible wildfire:
Support Prescribed Burning Programs –
These resources outline prescribed burning efforts throughout Florida:
Sources for this Episode:
- Gopher Frogs, Burrows, and Fire: Interactions in the Longleaf Pine Ecosystem – https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/UW295
- Effects of fire history, tree age, and canopy seed bank size on serotiny of Ocala sand pine (Pinus clausa var. clausa) in Florida scrub – https://www.jstor.org/stable/26477959
- Chapter 9 – Ecological Effects – https://www.fdacs.gov/content/download/39688/file/pft_chapter_09_ecological_effects.pdf
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