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The effects of fire on Tasmania's west coast lowland rainforest


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Barker, Mirranie Jane 1994 , 'The effects of fire on Tasmania's west coast lowland rainforest', Unspecified thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This study examined the effects of extensive fires on lowland cool temperate
rainforest burnt in 1982. Post-fire vegetation eight years after the fires was dominated
by sclerophyll species. On burnt sites, there were more non-rainforest species than
rainforest species, though there was regeneration of most rainforest vascular species.
Rainforest species that did not appear to regenerate include species of
Hymenophyllum, Asplenium and Polyphlebium. Many regenerating canopy
species, especially Atherosperma moschatum, were recorded as small seedlings.
Their rate of survival to maturity was unknown.
Floristic analyses using ordination and classification procedures indicated that
rainforest type and burn intensity were the most important variables in determining
post-burn vegetation. Regression analysis also showed the importance of rainforest
type and fire intensity on individual species.
The dominant post-burn species were the non-rainforest species Pterklium
esculentum, Leptospermum scoparium and the doubtful-rainforest species Gahnia
grandis. The density of P. esculentum was greatest in callidendrous rainforest,
while the other dominant species were denser in implicate rainforest (Jarman et al.
Recovery of rainforest species was predominantly by seedlings, though
sprouting was important for some species. Eleven rainforest tree and shrub species
were recorded sprouting, with the majority of sprouting occurring in implicate
Recently burnt rainforest had a large component of sclerophyllous species and
was considered to be more pyrogenic than mature rainforest. Rainforest regenerating
after a recent fire would have burnt in milder conditions than those required for a large
scale rainforest fire. Further fires appeared to be the major threat to the regeneration
of rainforest as fires resulted in an increased sclerophyllous component and decreased
rainforest elements. Additional fires also increased the time taken for rainforest to
regenerate fully.
The time necessary for the regeneration of rainforest and its future composition
in the study areas are not certain. To enable regeneration to mature rainforest a
disturbance-free period of at least 100 years is required.
This study indicated that lowland rainforest can recover after a major
disturbance, such as fire. It is essential that subsequent fires be excluded until the
areas burnt are fully regenerated to rainforest, otherwise there will be an increase in
the time required for rainforest to fully regenerate. The more fires the longer the
period required for rainforest to regenerate fully with a decrease in the number of
species regenerating. To ensure that subsequent fires do not occur responsible
management by all land managers is required.

Item Type: Thesis - Unspecified
Authors/Creators:Barker, Mirranie Jane
Keywords: Forest fires, Fire ecology
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1994 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 97-108). Thesis (M.Sc.)--University of Tasmania, 1995

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