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Can trophic rewilding reduce the impact of fire in a more flammable world?


Johnson, CN and Prior, LD and Archibald, S and Poulos, HM and Barton, AM and Williamson, GJ and Bowman, DMJS, Can trophic rewilding reduce the impact of fire in a more flammable world?, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 373, (1761) Article 20170443. ISSN 0962-8436 (2018) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2018 The Authors Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1098/rstb.2017.0443


Large vertebrates affect fire regimes in several ways: by consuming plant matter that would otherwise accumulate as fuel; by controlling and varying the density of vegetation; and by engineering the soil and litter layer. These processes can regulate the frequency, intensity and extent of fire. The evidence for these effects is strongest in environments with intermediate rainfall, warm temperatures and graminoid-dominated ground vegetation. Probably, extinction of Quaternary megafauna triggered increased biomass burning in many such environments. Recent and continuing declines of large vertebrates are likely to be significant contributors to changes in fire regimes and vegetation that are currently being experienced in many parts of the world. To date, rewilding projects that aim to restore large herbivores have paid little attention to the value of large animals in moderating fire regimes. Rewilding potentially offers a powerful tool for managing the risks of wildfire and its impacts on natural and human values.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:herbivory, megaherbivore, fire regime, plant-animal interactions, pyrogeography, ecosystem engineer, fire, rewilding, biodiversity, megafauna
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Forestry sciences
Research Field:Forestry fire management
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Johnson, CN (Professor Christopher Johnson)
UTAS Author:Prior, LD (Dr Lynda Prior)
UTAS Author:Williamson, GJ (Dr Grant Williamson)
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:128894
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:33
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2018-10-23
Last Modified:2019-03-26
Downloads:95 View Download Statistics

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