Thin vegetation to prevent wild fires
Overall effectiveness category No evidence found (no assessment)
Number of studies: 0
Background information and definitions
Fire is an important disturbance in some marshes and swamps, whether it occurs naturally (Sutter & Kral 1994) or is prescribed by humans to manage the vegetation (Middleton 2013). However, if fire becomes too frequent or intense, or occurs at the “wrong” time of year, it can cause undesirable damage to these ecosystems. Fires within marshes or swamps can directly damage the vegetation and soils (Kotze 2013). Fires in the watershed can affect the water quality in focal marshes or swamps (Pinel-Alloul et al. 2002). It is possible to manage the frequency, intensity and timing of wild fires by removing/thinning the vegetation, thereby reducing the amount of fuel available (WRC 2000).
To be summarized in this action, studies could have compared areas or time periods in which vegetation has been thinned (using any method, including prescribed burning, within or adjacent to focal marshes or swamps) with areas or time periods in which vegetation was not thinned and experienced wild fire. The study must have monitored the vegetation, not just properties of the fire.
Related actions: Raise water level to prevent wild fires; Build fire breaks; Increase ‘on the ground’ protection for marshes or swamps, including fire fighting teams.
Kotze D.C. (2013) The effects of fire on wetland structure and functioning. African Journal of Aquatic Science, 38, 237–247.
Middleton B.A. (2013) Rediscovering traditional vegetation management in preserves: trading experiences between cultures and continents. Biological Conservation, 158, 750–760.
Pinel-Alloul B., Prepas E., Planas D., Steedman R. & Charette T. (2002) Watershed impacts of logging and wildfire: case studies in Canada. Lake and Reservoir Management, 18, 307–318.
Sutter R.D. & Kral R. (1994) The ecology, status, and conservation of two non-alluvial wetland communities in the South Atlantic and Eastern Gulf coastal plain, USA. Biological Conservation, 235–243.
WRC (2000) Water Notes 2: Wetlands and Fire. Water and Rivers Commission, Government of Western Australia, Perth. Available at https://water.wa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/3349/11412.pdf. Accessed 20 September 2019.