Forests can be fire resistant. This finding was put forward by Kira Clark-Wolf of the University of California at Boulder, under whose supervision it was published in Ecology Journal An article describing a phenomenon from the Rocky Mountains. Researchers conducted a series of ancient studies to discover the secret power of the American forest.
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Paleontology is the science that studies pollen and organic remains in sediments and rocks. On this basis, we can determine how vegetation has evolved over geological time. This is an area that is little known in the world of science, but with the most recent specimens being calculated in thousands, not millions, of years, it allows us to infer a lot about ancient environments.
Montana’s forests have survived dozens of wildfires. Today they are immune to them
American scientists conducted a study in Silver Lake, Montana. They extracted a core from the bottom of the lake containing a series of sediments dating back nearly 8,000 years. Then they analyzed it inch by inch looking for clues. 5 millimeters of sediment corresponds to one decade – so the time scale here was very precise. In such recent settlements (which are not yet rocks because they have not yet undergone fossilization) the remains of ancient large fires have been observed. It turns out that over the past 4,800 years, they regularly visited this area at intervals of 120-220 years.
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Although such disasters usually destroy everything and leave nothing but ashes, nature was able to be reborn in an amazing way. After each fire, subalpine conifer forests (such as those in the Silver Lake area since the beginning of the Holocene) are rebuilt over decades. The study’s authors point out that wildfires strike Montana much more often than they do today. They suggest that they may have gained the ability to resist this element. However, it is not known how these conifer trees will respond to climate change in the future.
During the paleoanalysis of sediments from the bottom of the lake, a number of other paleoscientific studies were also confirmed. The sediments contain indicators of past volcanic eruptions such as Mount St. John’s. Helens and Crater Lake. The unusual method of examining plant pollen and organic carbon in modern sediments is sure to be used by scientists many times in the future. In such cases, it shows its extraordinary details and facilitates the interpretation of the geological history of small-scale areas.
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