Encyclopedia of Wildfires and Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Fires

Living Edition
| Editors: Samuel L. Manzello

First- and Second-Order Fire Effects

  • Philip E. HigueraEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51727-8_258-1



First- and second-order fire effects are the impacts of a fire on plants, animals, soils, and other components of an ecosystem. The terms differ with respect to time scales: first-order fire effects occur during a fire or immediately after (i.e., within minutes, hours, and days), while second-order fire effects occur over the weeks, months, and years after a fire.


Fire effects broadly refer to the impacts that fire has on the biophysical components of an ecosystem, including the plants, animals, soils, hydrology, and nutrient stock, over multiple scales of biological organization (e.g., from individual organisms to populations). The distinction between “first-order” and “second-order” effects calls upon the varying time scales over which fire impacts ecosystems. Across both scales, fire effects are a function of two sets of factors: (1) the properties of a...
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecosystem and Conservation SciencesUniversity of MontanaMissoulaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kuibin Zhou
    • 1
  1. 1.Nanjing Tech UniversityNanjingChina