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protection - Spring 2009 RNR 384 Natural Resources...

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Spring 2009 RNR 384 Natural Resources - Management Practices FIRE AND PEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES Natural ecosystems must be protected from the detrimental effects of fire, insects, and fungi to maintain healthy ecosystems. Strategies and management practices often followed in protecting these ecosystems from fire, and other damaging agents and pests, are presented in these lecture notes. DEFINITIONS Fire is the rapid release of the heat energy stored in (living and dead) plants by photosynthesis. One often thinks of flames at the mentioned of fire. However, there is more to fire than flame. Fire is the manifestation of a series of chemical reactions, while flame is a gas- phase phenomenon of fire and, therefore, only part of the process. A natural fire is a fire of natural origin, often lightning. A human-induced fire is a fire caused directly or indirectly by a person or people. A wildfire is a fire that is not meeting management objectives and, therefore, requires suppression. A prescribed fire is a fire burning with prescription, resulting from a planned ignition. A prescription is a statement specifying the management objective to be attained, and the weather conditions, fuel moisture condition, and soil moisture conditions in which a fire will be allowed to burn. A prescribed natural fire is a fire of natural origin which is allowed to burn as long as it is accomplishing one or more stated management objectives. Integrated pest management combines chemical, biological, cultural, and mechanical practices to maintain pest levels below a pre-established threshold. It often serves as a backup to pest control when other control methods fail. FIRE Wildfire can be a potential threat to all natural ecosystems. Even in relatively high rainfall areas, there can be hot and dry periods of time when the fire risk is relatively high. Dangerous wildfire occur initially at ground level. Once it spreads rapidly on the ground and increase their intensities, wildfire can move into crowns of trees and shrubs, causing even greater damage. The risk of fire, therefore, should be a major consideration in planning for the sustainable management of natural resources. Wildfire originates from either natural causes (such as lightning strikes, spontaneous combustion, or volcanic activity) or the actions of people. The latter often result from purposely started fires spreading from agricultural croplands on the perimeter, burning by ranchers to 1
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improve livestock grazing conditions, and activities of hunters and recreationalists. There are also instances of deliberate burning to create employment opportunities in fire suppression and the subsequent replanting of herbaceous plants, shrubs, or trees, or (occasionally) to show disapproval of natural resources management policies.
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