Demographic effects of severe fire in montane shrublands on Tasmania's Central Plateau
Foulkes, J and Prior, L and Leonard, S and Bowman, D, Demographic effects of severe fire in montane shrublands on Tasmania's Central Plateau, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, Melbourne (2021) [Contract Report]
Australian montane sclerophyll shrubland vegetation is considered to be resilient to infrequent severe fire but this may not be the case in Tasmanian shrublands. Our research reports on the regeneration response of a Tasmanian non-coniferous woody montane shrubland following a severe fire. The 2019 Great Pine Tier fire in the Central Plateau Conservation Area was a severe crown fire that killed all above ground vegetation in the shrubland. Our field survey revealed that less than 1% of the burnt plants were not top-killed by the fire, and only 5% of the burnt plants were observed to be 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 colonisation from plants outside the fire ground. The low number of resprouters within the shrubland suggest that it may not be as resilient to fire as mainland Australian montane shrubland. As a consequence, our research highlights the fragility of the shrubland under a warming climate and potential increase in fire frequency.