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Unexpected ways animals influence fires

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Animals eating plants might seem like an obvious way to suppress fire, and humans are already using the enormous appetites of goats, deer, and cows to reduce the fuel available for potential wildfires. But other animals such as birds, termites, and elephants can also double as ecosystem engineers, naturally reducing or enhancing the chances, spread, or severity of wildfires as they go about their day-to-day grass-chewing, track-making, or nest-building. Researchers in Australia describe these and more surprising activities in a Review published March 5 in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution.

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