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Fire regime and vegetation change in the transition from Aboriginal to European land management in a Tasmanian eucalypt savanna


Romanin, LM and Hopf, F and Haberle, SG and Bowman, DMJS, Fire regime and vegetation change in the transition from Aboriginal to European land management in a Tasmanian eucalypt savanna, Australian Journal of Botany, 64, (5) pp. 427-440. ISSN 0067-1924 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Journal compilation Copyright CSIRO 2016

DOI: doi:10.1071/BT16032


sing pollen and charcoal analysis we examined how vegetation and fire regimes have changed over the last 600 years in the Midlands of Tasmania. Sediment cores from seven lagoons were sampled, with a chronology developed at one site (Diprose Lagoon) using 210Pb and 14C dating. Statistical contrasts of six cores where Pinus served as a marker of European settlement in the early 19th Century and showed significant changes in pollen composition following settlement with (a) influx of ruderal exotic taxa including Plantago lanceolata L., Brassicaceae, Asteraceae (Liguliflorae) and Rumex, (b) increase in pollen of the aquatics Myriophyllum spp. and Cyperaceae, (c) a decline in native herbaceous pollen taxa, including Chenopodiaceae and Asteraceae (Tubuliflorae) and (d) a decline in Allocasuarina and an initial decline and then increase of Poaceae. The presence of Asteraceae (Liguliflorae) in the pre-European period suggests that an important root vegetable Microseris lanceolata (Walp.) Sch.Bip. may have been abundant. Charcoal deposition was low in the pre-European period and significantly increased immediately after European arrival. Collectively, these changes suggest substantial ecological impacts following European settlement including cessation of Aboriginal traditions of fire management, a shift in hydrological conditions from open water lagoons to more ephemeral herb covered lagoons, and increased diversity of alien herbaceous species following pasture establishment.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:aboriginal fire management, grassland, grassy woodland historical ecology, landscape ecology, macro-charcoal, palynology
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological applications
Research Field:Landscape ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems
UTAS Author:Romanin, LM (Ms Louise Romanin)
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:113707
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:19
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2017-01-16
Last Modified:2022-08-29

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