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Smoke and Fire

9 February 2010

Science Daily … a paper in Journal of Natural Products claims fire and smoke play a significant role in the rebirth and regeneration of forest and grassland. Smoke seems to affect and promote the germination of seeds of many species following landscape fires. A chemical component in smoke produced from burning plant material has been isolated – and is responsible for the rapid growth that takes place after fires. However, at the same time there is also an inhibitor compound that can block the stimulator, an exactly opposite affect and this is designed to prevent seed germination until the appropriate moment. The inhibitor means that seeds can remain dormant until moisture and temperature are suitable for germination – differing with each species. Grass regrows very quickly, for example, but a tree requires different conditions.

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