Exploring the effects of prescribed fire and rising temperature on tick-borne diseases
In recent times tick ranges have been expanding due in part to rising temperatures as a consequence of climate change, thereby increasing the risks and prevalence of tick-borne illnesses across the country. Thus, it is vital to find practical ways of managing tick populations. Prescribed fires are a common form of land management practices; it is time and cost-efficient when applied across large amounts of land. In this seminar, I investigate the effects of prescribed fire intensity and the duration between burns on the prevalence of tick-borne illnesses as temperature rises. Using stage-structured tick-host models with impulsive differential equations our results indicate that prescribed fire intensity has a larger impact in reducing disease prevalence than frequency between burns. Exploring the use of prescribed burns in preventing the establishment of ticks in new areas shows that fewer burns are ineffective at preventing their establishment because ticks can recover relatively quickly following a burn but frequent, long-term prescribed burns can slow and possibly prevent their establishment.