Fire, vegetation structure, and the ant X acacia interaction in Central America
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): D. H. Janzen
Publication Year: 1967

Cataloging Information

  • Acacia spp.
  • agriculture
  • arthropods
  • Central America
  • coastal vegetation
  • Costa Rica
  • croplands
  • cutting
  • distribution
  • disturbance
  • evolution
  • fire injuries (animals)
  • fire injuries (plants)
  • fragmentation
  • grass fires
  • grasses
  • grasslands
  • grazing
  • habits and behavior
  • herbaceous vegetation
  • Honduras
  • insects
  • invertebrates
  • livestock
  • Nicaragua plant communities
  • plant growth
  • regeneration
  • reproduction
  • rivers
  • roads
  • sand dunes
  • scorch
  • seeds
  • shrubs
  • succession
  • woody plants
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 38455
Tall Timbers Record Number: 13058
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals-E DDW
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


The effect of fire on swollen-thorn acacias and their tenant obligate acacia-ants in the Central American dry lowlands is discussed. Fires may either consume the entire acacia shoot and ant colony, scorch and kill the acacia but not the ants, or kill neither acacia nor ant colony. Which alternative occurs depends on the structure of the immediately surrounding vegetation which in turn depends on how much of it has been killed by the ant colony and how fast the acacia has grown. The survival of the acacia population in frequently burned areas is almost entirely dependent upon some ant colonies surviving the fire to occupy the new sucker shoots from acacia stumps. The effect of these fires on the evolution of the interaction between the ant and the acacia is discussed. ©Ecological Society of America. Abstract reproduced by permission.

Online Link(s):
Janzen, D. H. 1967. Fire, vegetation structure, and the ant X acacia interaction in Central America. Ecology, v. 48, no. 1, p. 26-35.