Plant dynamics and fire regimes

Ella, Luke and colleagues have a new paper on plant maturity and fire regimes in the journal Fire Ecology.

This field study asked: how do time since fire and fire severity influence the occurrence of mature plants?

The work concentrated on three serotinous species (species that hold seeds in the canopy) in the biodiverse Gariwerd landscape of Victoria.

A positive influence of time since fire on mature plants was detected for each of the three species. That is, mature plants that were flowering or producing seeds were more likely to occur in areas that had not burnt for several years.

Interestingly, no relationships were observed between time since fire and the relative abundance of plants. Only when plant life stages were considered was an effect of fire on plants identified.

Ultimately, this new study demonstrates that distinguishing between plant life stages will help to predict the impacts of fire on populations and enhance decision-making.

Co-authors include colleagues from University of Melbourne (Matt Swan and Trent Penman) and the Canadian Forest Service (Luke Collins).

You can read and download the paper here:

From left to right: silver banksia (Banksia marginata), prickly teatree (Leptospermum continentale), and heath teatree (Leptospermum myrsinoides).