Fire is an inherently evolutionary process, even though much more emphasis has been given to ecological responses of plants and their associated communities to fire.
Here, we synthesize contributions to a Special Feature entitled 'Fire as a dynamic ecological and evolutionary force' and place them in a broader context of fire research. Topics covered in this Special Feature include a perspective on the impacts of novel fire regimes on differential forest mortality, discussions on new approaches to investigate vegetation-fire feedbacks and resulting plant syndromes, synthesis of fire impacts on plant-fungal interactions, and a meta-analysis of arthropod community responses to fire.
We conclude by suggesting pathways forward to better understand the ecological and evolutionary consequences of fire. These include developing ecological and evolutionary databases for fire ecology, integrating hierarchical genetic structure or phylogenetic structure, and developing new experimental frameworks that limit context-dependent outcomes.