Journal article

Long-term effects of frequent low-intensity burning on the abundance of litter-dwelling invertebrates in coastal blackbutt forests of southeastern Australia

Alan York



Low-intensity re is extensively used in Australian dry eucalypt forests to reduce fuel levels. The long-term impact of this management practice on terrestrial invertebrates is, however, unknown and is of concern given their contribution to ecosystem function and forest biodiversity. This study found that areas subjected to frequent low-intensity re had significantly lower numbers of spiders, ticks and mites, pseudoscorpions, woodlice, springtails, bugs, beetles, ants and insect larvae in the leaf litter compared with adjacent unburnt areas. Taxa numbers were between 41 and 82% lower and these reductions in abundance have led to an overall decline in taxon richness. This decrease was attribut..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

I am grateful to Bill Buckler, Bill Chapman, Patrick Murphy and Traecey Brassil for their assistance with fieldwork, and Rita Holland, Ruth Burton, Graeme Price, Darren Waterson and Melinda Hillery for their perseverance with the sorting of invertebrate specimens. This paper has benefited from the constructive comments of two anonymous reviewers. The project was supported financially by State Forests of NSW and the Commonwealth Department of Environment Sport and Territories. This is contribution number 290 to the Centre for Biodiversity and Bioresources, Macquarie University.