An evolutionary decision to spurn combustive consumption
Matorral, central Chile photo © Inao Vásquez
The prime example, worldwide, of fire behaving as a biological property rather than an environmental imposition is in the matorral of central Chile. This shrubland should be prone to wildfire because it receives virtually no rain for the warm half of the year, has hard, dry foliage, and has lacked large wild herbivores for the last 10,000 years. Yet there was no regime of fire in matorral – presumably because of fire-suppressant substances in the main tall shrubs and low trees – and no native plant is promoted by fire in the ways documented under similar climates on other continents.
Robin and the Honey Badger, 8 January 2017