Journal article

Defining the fire trap: Extension of the persistence equilibrium model in mesic savannas

Michelle E Freeman, Peter A Vesk, Brett P Murphy, Garry D Cook, Anna E Richards, Richard J Williams

AUSTRAL ECOLOGY | WILEY | Published : 2017


Mesic savannas are dominated by trees that are strong resprouters caught in a frequent fire trap. Persistence within this fire trap has been described by a resprout curve of SizeNext ~ f(Pre-fire size), defined by the Michaelis-Menten function. A key feature of this resprout curve is a stable persistence equilibrium that represents the size of individual plants upon which a population will converge over successive inter-fire time steps under a given fire regime. Here, we contend that such a resprout curve does not adequately describe resprout tree dynamics in frequently burnt mesic savannas because it is constrained to an asymptote. We propose a new framework for modelling the resprout curve..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank Tiwi Traditional Owners and the Tiwi Land Council for supporting ongoing research on their land. Tiwi data were collected with invaluable field assistance provided by Jon Schatz, Willy Rioli, Willy Roberts, Colin Kerinauia, Vivian Kerinauia, Jose Puruntatameri and Kim Brooks. In particular, we acknowledge the support provided by the Tiwi Land Council and CSIRO TERC in Darwin. Funding was provided through the Indigenous Carbon Farming Fund Research and Development Stream Grants administered by Department of the Environment and Energy and co-funded by CSIRO. We sincerely thank Patricia Werner and William Hoffmann for critical comments that both sharpened our understanding and improved the manuscript, even if we did not agree with all. BPM was supported by a grant from the Australian Research Council (DE130100434). PAV was supported by The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions.