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High post-fire mortality of resprouting woody plants in Tasmanian Mediterranean-type vegetation


Nicholson, AE and Prior, LD and Perry, GLW and Bowman, DMJS, High post-fire mortality of resprouting woody plants in Tasmanian Mediterranean-type vegetation, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 26, (6) pp. 532-537. ISSN 1049-8001 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 IAWF

DOI: doi:10.1071/WF16211


Plant regeneration strategies are commonly dichotomised as 'resprouter' v. 'non-resprouter', but this fails to recognise that the extent and type of resprouting following fire disturbance vary within species. Here, we report a case of widespread mortality of resprouters following a fire that burnt 98% of an 80-km2 island in Bass Strait, Australia. A field survey, which assessed woody vegetation in 197 plots across the island, showed fire severity ranged from low to high, with crown defoliation occurring across 85% of the island. In total, 1826 of the 1831 woody stems in the burnt plots were top-killed. Only 7.5% resprouted, despite 89% of the stems belonging to species that have the capacity to resprout. Even in species with at least 5% resprouting, only 22% of top-killed stems resprouted. Resprouting rates were maximal (30%) at intermediate fire severity, and only 5 and 8% at the lowest and highest severity classes respectively. Our findings demonstrate the need to understand factors influencing resprouting, and to incorporate these when modelling vegetation recovery after wildfire.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Australia, Clarke Island, fire severity, interval squeeze, persistence niche
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Nicholson, AE (Ms Aine Nicholson)
UTAS Author:Prior, LD (Dr Lynda Prior)
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:118193
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:20
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2017-07-06
Last Modified:2019-09-26

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