For Thailand in
particular, the environmental changes caused by man
during the last two decades are obviously terrible.
Second only to deforestation, fire plays the most
destructive role in the forest ecosystem which results
in drastic deterioration of the environment as a whole.
However, these changes over time seem slow to human
eyes. For example, over 20 years of environmental
degradation, people gradually get used to the
deterioration of nature and actually accept new
conditions such as annual flood and drought.
From an ecological point
of view, fire is considered as a non- biotic factor
which, in general, works within the ecosystem to
decompose, recycle and select. As an agent of
decomposition, fire releases, in the form of a heat, the
chemical energy stored in the available fuel. Fire
liberates, in slightly altered forms, many of the
constituent bio-chemicals residing in the litter.
Somehow an ecosystem must cope with this discharge of
energy and chemicals, with the eradication of some
organisms and the introduction of others, and with the
simultaneous processes of selective destruction and
It is therefore,
evident that fire is not a minor factor, but a major
one. Fire is and has been, for centuries, a part of
terrestrial environments of the world. Consequently
biotic communities adapt and compensate for this factor
just as they do for temperature or water. Yet, as with
most environmental factors, man has greatly modified its
effect, increasing its influence in many cases and
decreasing it in others. Through careless behavior, man
has often so increased the effect of fire that a
productive environment, is destroyed or injured.