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


Foulkes, JA and Prior, LD and Leonard, SWJ and Bowman, DMJS, Demographic effects of severe fire in montane shrubland on Tasmania's Central Plateau, Fire, 4, (3) Article 32. ISSN 2571-6255 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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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 (

DOI: doi:10.3390/fire4030032


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 Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Tasmania, montane shrubland, fire severity, crown fire, post-fire regeneration response, Orites revoluta
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Natural hazards
Objective Field:Climatological hazards (e.g. extreme temperatures, drought and wildfires)
UTAS Author:Foulkes, JA (Ms Judy Foulkes)
UTAS Author:Prior, LD (Dr Lynda Prior)
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:147505
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2021-11-05
Last Modified:2022-01-14
Downloads:23 View Download Statistics

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