As in most savannas, fire has been a major determinant of the cerrado for thousands of years. Fragments of fossil charcoal found by different authors working in the cerrado – which represent evidence of fire – date from 8600 YPB (years before present) to about 32,000 YBP (Coutinho, 1981; Salgado-Labouriau and Ferraz-Vincentini, 1994; Pessenda et al., 1998; Ledru, 2002). Most of these ancient fires would have been naturally started by lightning at the end of the dry season, when the vegetation desiccates and grasses become very flammable, enabling quick surface fires to occur (as is well documented of contemporary lightning fires, see Ramos-Neto and Pivello 2000). The combination of a seasonal climate, grassy combustible vegetation and flat topography that prevails in the cerrado region (Figure 6.1) favours fire spread and the maintenance of frequent fires (Figure 6.2). It is believed, therefore, that cerrado biota evolved under the presence of fire in the Brazilian Central Plateau (Ledru, 2002). A number of cerrado flora and fauna have adaptations to fire: thick cork bark that protects most cerrado trees; the ability of herbaceous plants to sprout very rapidly after a fire; the flowering, germination and seed dispersal stimulation shown by many plant species after fire; cryptic habits widespread among terrestrial vertebrates; camouflage patterns shown by several animals (Coutinho, 1980).