St. Martin is warm year-round, but has wet and dry seasons. Often, brush fires come with the dry season. In the past, they may have been started by lightning, and today they are more likely to be caused by people, either on purpose, or by accident. Fires can have a profound influence on the ecology of the island. Quick-burning fires can keep thorny scrub from transitioning into forest. Animals and plants may die, but some, like the cattle egret, take advantage by feeding on insects and lizards fleeing from the fire. At the end of the dry season, there is regrowth as the rains return.
This is one of the many rhythmic cycles that influence wildlife on St. Martin. If you want to learn more, attend the Wildlife Beats: The Rhythms of Nature on St. Martin workshop at this year’s St. Martin Book Fair. For more information, visit: http://www.sxmwildlife.com/workshop-at-st-martin-book-fair/
The workshop is free and open to the public, June 1st at 11am at University of St. Martin.