Pyrodiversity, as the name suggests, is the diversity
of fires in an area. This term refers to the type, size, and frequency of fires in an area. For instance, an area high in pyrodiversity might experience ground fire
s which erupted to crown fires in a few cases, and contain patches which did not burn at all. An area low in pyrodiversity might have been uniformly burned by a crown fire
, or a prescribed burn
. In a natural regime, pyrodiversity is high because fire
s start under all conditions, and vary in size and severity. In today's conditions, the smaller fires are often put out, leaving only the severe ones which defy supression to burn across wide areas. Also, prescribed burn
s often don't take pyrodiversity into account, burning only under certain conditions which are safe and easy to maintain.
High pyrodiversity is linked with high biodiversity because pyrodiversity creates a high range of habitats. Some areas may burn completelely, allowing sunlight to reach the ground, and encouraging the growth of herbaceous plants which are also important food sources for animals. Mild burns encourage healthy woodlands by keeping an open understory but allowing many older trees to survive. Unburned areas act as refuge for animals during a fire, but also allow thickets to remain for animal habitat after other areas are burned. The ‘patchwork' created by high pyrodiversity allows many different types of plants to proliferate, as well as many types of animals which require a specific habitat or a combination of habitats to be found adjacent to one another.