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People often believe that fires are only destructive and harmful to a natural environment but that is not the case. Some level of natural fire is an important part of the cycle of balance in ecosystems such as prairies, chaparral, and conifer forests. The beneficial effects of fire are two fold. First, some species of plants and trees depend on fire for reproduction. Heat and smoke actually trigger some plants to release seeds, and the heat from fire causes some seeds to germinate. Second, and probably more applicable to agriculture, is the fact that fire helps to purge and remove excessive low-lying vegetation that can take up vital nutrients from larger plants, crops, and trees. With this excessive vegetation removed, the local nutrients are more readily available for the larger plants since there is less competition. Sometimes people will do a controlled burn of a field or section of land to remove this unwanted vegetation without scorching and damaging the landscape in general.
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