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Premature decline of Eucalyptus and altered ecosystem processes in the absence of fire in some Australian forests


Close, DC and Davidson, NJ and Johnson, DW and Abrams, MD and Hart, SC and Lunt, ID and Archibald, RD and Horton, B and Adams, MA, Premature decline of Eucalyptus and altered ecosystem processes in the absence of fire in some Australian forests, The Botanical Review: Interpreting Botanical Progress, 75, (2) pp. 191-202. ISSN 0006-8101 (2009) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1007/s12229-009-9027-y


We propose a model of ‘premature tree decline’ whereby an absence of fire hastens the mortality of overstorey eucalypts in some forests. This model is relevant to some temperate Australian forests in which fire regimes have shifted from relatively frequent before European settlement to infrequent following settlement. The increased development of midstorey vegetation and litter accumulation has occurred since European settlement in some specific examples of Australian forests and woodlands. Our model proposes that in the long absence of fire: 1. midstorey vegetation reduces the availability of soil water for eucalypts and; 2. Eucalypts have less access to P and/or cations as these elements become locked up in soil, litter and midstorey biomass. We highlight important knowledge gaps and argue that research into ecological burning, for eucalypt health and other values such as biodiversity, is urgently required.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Ecological Burning . Fire Management . Nutrient Cycling . Water Competition
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Natural resource management
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems
UTAS Author:Close, DC (Professor Dugald Close)
UTAS Author:Davidson, NJ (Dr Neil Davidson)
UTAS Author:Horton, B (Ms Bryony Horton)
ID Code:62252
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:57
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2010-03-11
Last Modified:2010-05-10
Downloads:4 View Download Statistics

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