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Malibu and Yosemite Benefits from Wildfires Essay

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Malibu and Yosemite share similar ecosystem, which encourages wildfires and periodic firestorms. In his book Ecology of Fear, Mike Davis argues that Malibu should burn because wildfires are a part of its history. To illustrate his point, he relates numerous historical events from the first settlement of the region to modern days. Despite the high frequency of wildfires in Malibu, humans have continued to settle there in droves. Those settlers have fought the fires, which has done nothing but augment their intensity. Unlike Malibu, with its populated areas that have been damaged by wildfires, Yosemite benefits greatly from wildfires. Yosemite’s ecosystem has evolved with wildfires; indeed, without wildfires, Yosemite would lose its uniqueness. Also, Yosemite is not as heavily populated as Malibu, so fires in Yosemite would not affect humans to the same degree that they do in Malibu.
The ecological effects of wildfires on Yosemite are among some its greatest benefits. Trees like Bishop Pines and Sequoias have evolved in such a way that their seeds will only open when exposed to high temperatures. The fires also help to clear out dead leaves and weeds, thereby making sunlight accessible to new plants and increasing their chances to germinate (Marder). Wildfires are so essential in areas like Yosemite that over millions of years, plants have developed strategies to be successful in this type of environment. For instance, giant sequoias have developed a thick layer of fire-resistant bark. This bark is “the main explanation for tree survival in intense fires” (Gignoux, Colbert, and Menaut). Fire makes the soil fertile and redistributes the nutrients evenly so that the next generation of trees can cover more space. The fires have helped...


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...he guardian. The guardian, 1 Sep. 2013. Web. 6 Oct. 2013.
Gignoux, Jacques, Jean Colbert, and Jean-Claude Menaut. Alternative fire resistance strategies in savanna trees. 10. Paris: Springer-Verlag, 1997. Abstract. eBook. Online ISSN 1432 1939.
Marder, Jenny. "Why a Century of Fire Prevention Means Trouble for Yosemite's Giant Sequoias." PBS Newshours. PBS, 30 Aug. 2013. Web. 6 Oct. 2013.
Nodell, Bobbi. "Wildfires-nature taking its course?" msnbc.com. msnbc.com, n.d. Web. 6 Oct. 2013.
Ryan. "The Case for Letting Malibu Burn." Once I Wanted to Be the Greatest. Blogpost, 23 Oct. 2007. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
Oskin, Becky. "Giant sequoia trees threatened by Yosemite fire." Mother Nature network. mnn.com, 27 Aug. 2013. Web. 6 Oct 2013.
Universität Bonn. "Fire Beetles May Revolutionize Early-Warning Systems for Forest Fires." ScienceDaily. N.p., 23 May 2012. Web. 6 Oct. 2013.



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