eCite Digital Repository

Fire frequency variation in south-eastern Tasmanian dry eucalypt forest 1740-2004 from fire scars


von Platen, J and Kirkpatrick, JB and Allen, KJ, Fire frequency variation in south-eastern Tasmanian dry eucalypt forest 1740-2004 from fire scars, Australian Forestry, 74, (3) pp. 180-189. ISSN 0004-9158 (2011) [Refereed Article]

Restricted - Request a copy

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2011 Institute of Foresters of Australia

Official URL:

DOI: doi:10.1080/00049158.2011.10676361


An understanding of fire history is important in determining appropriate fire management regimes for biodiversity conservation in fire-prone ecosystems, such as dry eucalypt forests of temperate Australia. We tested whether ring counts and evidence of fire in the stumps of felled eucalyptus could be used to construct fire chronologies in the dry forests of south-eastern Tasmania. Givennthat the dates for fires derived from this method were consistent with other evidence of fire years, we constructed chronologies for 13 sites in the region. We applied a conversion factor for fires per decade per site based on the relationship between fire detection and sample size for all sites. Between 1740 and 1819 when indigenouos people were managing the region, decadal fire frequency averaged 0.7. Between 1820 and 1849 fires were very infrequent in the region, with a mean decadal fire frequency of 0.4. An upward transistion to a higher fire frequency took place between the 1840s and the 1850s. Between 1850 and 1909 decadal fire frequency varied between 0.8 and 1.2 the sharply increased again. Between 1910 and 1989 it varied between 1.3 and 1.7. Extensive fire years were strongly related to annual precipitation <0.75 standard deviations below the mean. Variation in annual precipitation, however, could not explain the sharp transistions in decadal fire frequency that took place in 1820, 1850, 1910, and 1990 and the constancy of fire frequency between these dates. The reltionships of these transitions to land use changes are described.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:fire; history; growth rings; people; land use; land management; eucalyptus; Tasmania
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems
UTAS Author:Kirkpatrick, JB (Professor James Kirkpatrick)
UTAS Author:Allen, KJ (Dr Kathy Allen)
ID Code:73396
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:Geography and Environmental Studies
Deposited On:2011-10-04
Last Modified:2021-04-12
Downloads:1 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page