- We live on a flammable planet yet there is little consensus on the origin and evolution of flammability in our flora.
- We argue that part of the problem lies in the concept of flammability, which should not be viewed as a single quantitative trait or metric. Rather, we propose that flammability has three major dimensions that are not necessarily correlated: ignitability, heat release and fire spread rate. These major axes of variation are controlled by different plant traits and have differing ecological impacts during fire.
- At the individual plant scale, these traits define three flammability strategies observed in fire-prone ecosystems: the non-flammable, the fast-flammable and the hot-flammable strategy (with low ignitability, high flame spread rate and high heat release, respectively). These strategies increase the survival or reproduction under recurrent fires, and thus, plants in fire-prone ecosystems benefit from acquiring one of them; they represent different (alternative) ways to live under recurrent fires.
- Synthesis. This novel framework based on different flammability strategies helps us to understand variability in flammability across scales, and provides a basis for further research.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Flammability as an ecological and evolutionary driver|
|Series title||Journal of Ecology|
|Contributing office(s)||Western Ecological Research Center|