Jump to Main Content
Evolutionary fire ecology: lessons learned from pines
- Pausas, Juli G.
- Trends in plant science 2015 v.20 no.5 pp. 318-324
- Pinus, biodiversity, coniferous forests, fire regime, inheritance (genetics), selection pressure
- Macroevolutionary studies of the genus Pinus provide the oldest current evidence of fire as an evolutionary pressure on plants and date back to ca. 125 million years ago (Ma). Microevolutionary studies show that fire traits are variable within and among populations, especially among those subject to different fire regimes. In addition, there is increasing evidence of an inherited genetic basis to variability in fire traits. Added together, pines provide compelling evidence that fire can exert an evolutionary pressure on plants and, thus, shape biodiversity. In addition, evolutionary fire ecology is providing insights to improve the management of pine forests under changing conditions. The lessons learned from pines may guide research on the evolutionary ecology of other taxa.