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Post-fire restoration of Sphagnum bogs in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Australia


Prior, LD and Nichols, SC and Williamson, GJ and Bowman, DMJS, Post-fire restoration of Sphagnum bogs in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Australia, Restoration Ecology Article e13797. ISSN 1526-100X (2022) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright (2022) The Authors. Restoration Ecology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for Ecological Restoration. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-NoDerivs License,, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

DOI: doi:10.1111/rec.13797


Sphagnum bogs in Australia are small, with a limited distribution, but of high conservation value. They are restricted to cool, wet environments that are typically fire free and are poorly adapted to recover from fire disturbance, unlike most Australian flora. Increased fire activity due to anthropogenic climate change is threatening Sphagnum bogs. This increased threat has stimulated interest in their restoration. Compared with the northern hemisphere, there have been few studies of the ecology of Sphagnum restoration in the southern hemisphere. Here, we report on a field experiment in Tasmania, in an area burned by an extensive fire in 2016. We investigated the role of shade, fertilizer and transplants, factors demonstrated to be important in the restoration of burnt bogs on the Australian mainland. Treatments commenced three to 4 years after the fire. Overall, we found that fire-damaged Sphagnum recovers very slowly, and that there was no recovery in severely burned areas. The addition of shade increased recovery of damaged Sphagnum, but fertilizer was harmful, even to healthy Sphagnum. Transplants in fire-killed Sphagnum grew poorly in both moderately and severely burnt Sphagnum areas. Our findings support the use of shading in post-fire Sphagnum recovery projects, although further work is required to determine the optimal approach and duration of providing shade.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:sphagnum, bog, Tasmania, fire, restoration
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological applications
Research Field:Fire 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:Prior, LD (Dr Lynda Prior)
UTAS Author:Nichols, SC (Mr Scott Nichols)
UTAS Author:Williamson, GJ (Dr Grant Williamson)
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:153852
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2022-10-11
Last Modified:2022-11-03
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