Journal article

The changing role of fire in conifer-dominated temperate rainforest through the last 14,000 years

M-S Fletcher, DMJS Bowman, C Whitlock, M Mariani, L Stahle

Quaternary Science Reviews | Elsevier | Published : 2018


Climate, fire and vegetation dynamics are often tightly coupled through time. Here, we use a 14 kyr sedimentary charcoal and pollen record from Lake Osborne, Tasmania, Australia, to explore how this relationship changes under varying climatic regimes within a temperate rainforest ecosystem. Superposed epoch analysis reveals a significant relationship between fire and vegetation change throughout the Holocene at our site. Our data indicates an initial resilience of the rainforest system to fire under a stable cool and humid climate regime between ca. 12–6 ka. In contrast, fires that occurred after 6 ka, under an increasingly variable climate regime wrought by the onset of the El Niño-Southern..

View full abstract


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Awarded by AINSE AWARD

Awarded by AINSE PGRA scholarship

Awarded by US National Science Foundation

Funding Acknowledgements

We acknowledge that our work was conducted on Tasmanian Aboriginal lands and thank the Tasmanian Aboriginal community for their support. Research was supported by Australian Research Council grants DI110100019, IN140100050 and DP110101950, and AINSE AWARD (ANALGRA13529). Michela Mariani was also supported by an AINSE PGRA scholarship (#12039) and the John and Allan Gilmour Science Award (Faculty of Science, University of Melbourne). We thank Michael Comfort from the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water & Environment (DPIPWE) for granting the permit to core Lake Osborne. We thank Scott Nichols, Jarred Pedro, Simon Haberle and David McWethy for help in the field. Felicitas Hopf counted the pollen for TAS1110LC. Support for CW and LS came from the US National Science Foundation OISE-0966472. We thank two anonymous reviewers for their detailed comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript.