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Abrupt fire regime change may cause landscape-wide loss of mature obligate seeder forests

Citation

Bowman, DMJS and Murphy, BP and Neyland, DLJ and Williamson, GJ and Prior, LD, Abrupt fire regime change may cause landscape-wide loss of mature obligate seeder forests, Global Change Biology, 20, (3) pp. 1008-1015. ISSN 1354-1013 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 Wiley

DOI: doi:10.1111/gcb.12433

Abstract

Obligate seeder trees requiring high-severity fires to regenerate may be vulnerable to population collapse if fire frequency increases abruptly. We tested this proposition using a long-lived obligate seeding forest tree, alpine ash (Eucalyptus delegatensis), in the Australian Alps. Since 2002, 85% of the Alps bioregion has been burnt by several very large fires, tracking the regional trend of more frequent extreme fire weather. High-severity fires removed 25% of above ground tree biomass, and switched fuel arrays from low loads of herbaceous and litter fuels to high loads of flammable shrubs and juvenile trees, priming regenerating stands for subsequent fires. Single high-severity fires caused adult mortality and triggered mass regeneration, but a second fire in quick succession killed 97% of the regenerating alpine ash. Our results indicate that without interventions to reduce fire severity, interactions between flammability of regenerating stands and increased extreme fire weather will eliminate much of the remaining mature alpine ash forest.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:climate change, deforestation, Eucalyptus, fire management, forest, wildfire
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological Applications
Research Field:Landscape Ecology
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Climate and Climate Change
Objective Field:Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change
Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
Author:Neyland, DLJ (Mr Dominic Neyland)
Author:Williamson, GJ (Dr Grant Williamson)
Author:Prior, LD (Dr Lynda Prior)
ID Code:86860
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:23
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2013-10-29
Last Modified:2015-03-18
Downloads:293 View Download Statistics

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