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Changes in southwestern Tasmanian fire regimes since the early 1800s

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Marsden-Smedley, JB (1998) Changes in southwestern Tasmanian fire regimes since the early 1800s. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 132. pp. 15-29. ISSN 0080-4703

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Abstract

There have been major changes in the fire regime of southwestern Tasmania over the past 170 years. The fire regime has changed from an Aboriginal fire regime of frequent low-intensity fires in buttongrass moorland (mostly in spring and autumn) with only the occasional high-intensity forest fire, to the early European fire regime of frequent high-intensity fires in all vegetation types, to a regime of low to medium intensity buttongrass moorland fires and finally to the current regime of few fires. These changes in the fire regime resulted in major impacts to the region's fire-sensitive vegetation types during the early European period, while the current low fire frequency across much of southwestern Tasmania has resulted in a large proportion of the region's fire-adapted buttongrass moorland being classified as old-growth. These extensive areas of old-growth buttongrass moorland mean that the potential for another large-scale ecologically damaging wildfire is high and, to avoid this, it would be better to re-introduce a regime oflow-intensity fires into the region.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, RST, Van Diemens Land, natural history, science, ecology, taxonomy, botany, zoology, geology, geography, papers & proceedings, Australia, UTAS Library
Journal or Publication Title: Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Page Range: pp. 15-29
ISSN: 0080-4703
Additional Information: Copyright Royal Society of Tasmania
Date Deposited: 22 May 2012 02:46
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:33
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/13620
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