Top 10 Must Read Topics for IAS Mains GS Paper 1 (Causes & effects of Wildfires): IAS is a dream opportunity for all the people looking for a secure and reputed job with the responsibility of serving the nation. Union Public Services Commission conducted the IAS Prelims exam on 18 June 2017.
All the UPSC IAS aspirants are now preparing for IAS Mains 2017. The problem is that no matter how good & knowledgeable we think we are or how good we feel we have prepared for the exam there is always a certain level of uncertainty. To overcome this fear, we will be sharing Top 10 Must Read Topics for IAS Mains GS Paper 1.
Top 10 Must Read Topics for IAS Mains GS Paper 1 | Causes & effects of Wildfires
Today we will discuss the Next Topic. Let us now go through some important definitions which will help us to understand the said topic in a better way.
What is a wildfire?
A wildfire is simply an uncontrolled fire that wipes out large fields and areas of land. These are the fires that started out of a lightning strike, or people carelessly starting it, or accidentally, or even arson, that went unnoticed and got out of hand. These fires sometimes burn for days and weeks. They can wipe out an entire forest and destroy almost every organic matter in it.
Wild fires can also be termed forest fires, grass fires, peat fires and bush fires depending on the type of vegetation being burnt. Note that these fires tend to thrive in very warm and dry climates, rather than the thick, moist rainforest types.
Wildfires and forest
The destructive nature of a wildfire in a forest is phenomenal. A forest is an entire ecosystem consisting of biotic factors like animals, insects, birds, bacteria, plants, and trees. It also consists of abiotic factors like water, rocks, and climate in that forest area. If a wildfire strikes such an ecosystem, all life forms will be lost. The air and water will be heavily polluted. The soils will be badly degraded and other abiotic elements will be affected including water catchment areas.
What are the effects of Wildfires?
If you have ever seen firefighters battling a wildfire and the images they show on TV, it will give you an idea of the immediate damage it can do to wildlife and vegetation. Fires also destroy houses and almost anything in its way. Additionally, the city spends millions of money to fight them with chemicals, logistics, aircraft and trucks, time and personnel. The economic loss can be huge.
Soils and organic matter:
Take forest soils for example. Forest soils are rich in decaying debris and nutrients and are composed of many natural features that support a myriad of life forms and organic activities. Wildfires raise the temperatures of these soils to over 900°C and this potentially wipes away almost all the organic value of the soil.
The effect on watershed is also key. Burned organic matter in the soil (volatilized organic compounds) also affect the natural layering of the soils. This negatively affects infiltration and percolation, making the soil surfaces water repellent. Water, therefore, is unable to drain into water tables and the runoffs on the surfaces cause erosion.
Researchers believe that forest fires are not all that bad, as they have some benefits too. In fact, they believe that even though young animals and birds may die, many animals are able to escape or move away from fires. Birds fly away, deer and other reptiles find their own escape routes and so on. Many plants easily grow back and there is usually good recovery after a fire. Some plants have their seeds opened up and exposed to ash-enriched soils. Examples include serotinous cones, from a tree species such as jack pine. Species like white pine and yellow birch also benefit from forest fires in a similar way.
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Expected Question: Discuss various Causes & effects of Wildfires?
Over here we conclude our article on Top 10 Must Read Topics for IAS Mains GS Paper 1. Stay tuned with us for the rest of the topic that we will discuss day by day.