Research Brief: Fire, ticks, and tick-borne disease prevalence in the eastern United States

Updated: Nov 4


The mesophication of forests (a shift from drier, fire-adapted ecosystems to wetter, cooler conditions) driven largely by fire suppression has coincided with an increase in tick populations. While tick control measures have focused on preventing individual infections, a larger-scale approach can more effectively address tick-borne disease prevalence. Restoring fire-dependent ecosystems through prescribed fire could be a part of integrated pest management of medically important ticks.


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This research brief covers: Michael R. Gallagher, Jesse Kreye, Erika Machtinger, Alexis Everland, Nathaniel Schmidt, and Nicholas S. Skowronski (2022) Can restoration of fire-dependent ecosystems reduce ticks and tick-borne disease prevalence in the eastern United States? Ecological Applications, e2637 https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.2637