FRQ 2008.3 Research

FRQ 2008.3—Fire Suppression

3. For decades, forest fires in the United States have been suppressed. In 2003 legislation was passed under the Healthy Forests Initiative (HFI) in response to the record-breaking wildfires that had occurred in the early 2000s. Some environmental and conservation groups fear that negative impacts could result if timber companies are encouraged to harvest medium- and large-size trees in federally owned forests while clearing away the smaller trees and underbrush.

.    (a)  Identify TWO characteristics of forests that develop when fires are suppressed, and explain why the practice of fire suppression does not reduce, but actually increases, the risk of intense and extensive forest fires.

.    (b)  The effects of the HFI are expected to extend beyond fire reduction. Excluding fire reduction, describe ONE positive and ONE negative effect likely to result from the implementation of the provisions of the HFI.

.    (c)  Describe TWO ecosystem services provided for humans by forests. Explain how clear-cutting would affect each ecosystem service you describe.

.    (d)  Identify a specific type of plant community or biome (other than a forest) that is naturally maintained by fire. Explain how the fire maintains the community or biome.

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