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© Pete Saloutos/Panoramic Images (Washington Title Image Large)

Altered Processes in Washington

Natural disturbances, such as fire, flooding, windstorms, and fluctuations in native insect populations, play an important role in the patterns of abundance, distribution, and species composition of ecosystems.  Human disruption of natural disturbance processes, such as fires and floods, has had far-reaching impacts on species and ecosystems in Washington. Population growth means increases in water demands, which in turn may lead to the construction of more water storage projects. Dams deprive downstream systems of such natural processes as flooding, scouring, and deposition of sediment and nutrients. An increasing number of houses in fire-prone areas on the urban fringe has yielded a more urgent need for fire suppression, which disrupts natural fire cycles.  (Excerpt from the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy)

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