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Demographic effects of severe fire in montane shrubland on Tasmania's Central Plateau

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Foulkes, JA, Prior, LD ORCID: 0000-0002-5511-2320, Leonard, SWJ and Bowman, DMJS ORCID: 0000-0001-8075-124X 2021 , 'Demographic effects of severe fire in montane shrubland on Tasmania's Central Plateau' , Fire, vol. 4, no. 3 , pp. 1-16 , doi: 10.3390/fire4030032.

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Abstract

Australian montane sclerophyll shrubland vegetation is widely considered to be resilient to infrequent severe fire, but this may not be the case in Tasmania. Here, we report on the vegetative and seedling regeneration response of a Tasmanian non-coniferous woody montane shrubland following a severe fire, which burned much of the Great Pine Tier in the Central Plateau Conservation Area during the 2018–2019 fire season when a historically anomalously large area was burned in central Tasmania. Our field survey of a representative area burned by severe crown fire revealed that more than 99% of the shrubland plants were top-killed, with only 5% of the burnt plants resprouting one year following the fire. Such a low resprouting rate means the resilience of the shrubland depends on seedling regeneration from aerial and soil seedbanks or colonization from plants outside the burned area. Woody species’ seedling densities were variable but generally low (25 m-2). The low number of resprouters, and reliance on seedlings for recovery, suggest the shrubland may not be as resilient to fire as mainland Australian montane shrubland, particularly given a warming climate and likely increase in fire frequency.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Foulkes, JA and Prior, LD and Leonard, SWJ and Bowman, DMJS
Keywords: Tasmania, montane shrubland, fire severity, crown fire, post-fire regeneration response, Orites revoluta
Journal or Publication Title: Fire
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 2571-6255
DOI / ID Number: 10.3390/fire4030032
Copyright Information:

Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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