|Pines are actually partially responsible for making areas prone to fire. Their dry, fallen needles build up on the forest floor and burn easily. However, because the fires are relatively frequent, they are also relatively small because there is never too much available fuel left after the previous fire.|
The needles and seed cones of a pine tree. Photo by Maya Walters.
|When people stop these small natural fires, the dry needles continue to build up and eventually an enormous fire breaks out, which burns for long enough to kill the broad-leaved trees as well as the fire-tolerant pines. In places that used to burn every 20 years or so, humans have now prevented fires for many years, and the oaks are beginning to take over. Pines are not shade tolerant and, without fire, the oaks manage to grow large enough to shade them out.|
[fire] [broadleaf forests]
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