Mutch's Hypothesis

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Wed Jun 19 08:55:12 EST 1996

On Wed, 19 Jun 1996, Cuong Tran wrote:

> I have begun studies on wildland fires and effects on vegetation etc.
> Anyway, in 1970 Robert Mutch published a paper (Ecology 51 (6):
> 1046-1051) with his hypothesis that certain forest communities (e.g.
> Eucalyptus spp. and Pinus spp.) have certain charactersitics which
> enhance the chances for intense fires (via heavy litter etc.) and that
> "fire-dependent communities burn more readily than non-fire-dependent
> communities because natural selection has favoured development of
> characterisitcs that make them more flammable".
> Now, this paper has ignited (...couldn't resist) a lot of debate since
> its publication, even to this day, and many researchers have tried to
> demonstrate either way for Mutch's hypothesis. Its been criticised for
> being group-selectionist etc. This is the view that I am leaning
> towards...does anyone out there have any comments on Mutch's hypothesis?
> Your 2 cents worth is better than nothing

There is quite possible that self-ingintion
is used by particular plant groups purposefully,
as a step of [ darwinian ? ] evolution.
You can perhaps take some amalogy in mass-suicides
of dolphines jumpimg on the shores. I believe,
the reason for this in not well understood.

(however, exploratory hypothese like Mutch's are
unlikely to be welcomed by funding agenicies
whose pupose is suffocate science, not advance it).

These are my 2 cents. Alex Berezin

> Look forward to hear from you.
> Cheers
> CT
> School of Applied Science
> Griffith University-Gold Coast

More information about the Bioforum mailing list