Short-interval wildfires increase likelihood of resprouting failure in fire-tolerant trees
Thomas A Fairman, Lauren T Bennett, Craig R Nitschke
JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT | ACADEMIC PRESS LTD- ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD | Published : 2019
Epicormic and basal resprouting promote tree survival and persistence in fire-prone regions worldwide. However, little is known about limits to resprouting effectiveness when severe wildfires increase in frequency. In the extensive fire-tolerant mixed-eucalypt forests of temperate Australia, we examined the effects of one and two high-severity wildfires within six years on relationships between tree size (stem diameter) and resprouting (epicormic and/or basal), and on seedling regeneration. The diameter of eucalypts likely to be topkilled (no epicormic recovery) by high-severity fire increased from ∼15 cm after the first wildfire to ∼22 cm after the second. Middle-sized stems (22-36 cm diame..View full abstract
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Awarded by Australian Research Council
Julio Najera, Ben Smith, and Lachlan Yourn provided invaluable assistance in collecting the data that formed the basis for this paper. The lead author would like to thank Brendan Nugent for his field assistance and his continuing curiosity and input into the project. Merryn Smith, Raphael Trouve, Patrick Baker and Tim Willersdorf provided thought provoking commentary on early drafts of this manuscript, and two reviewers provided valuable feedback. An Australian Postgraduate Award funded this research, with support from an Australian Research Council Linkage Projects grant (LP120200795), a Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment, a VEAC Bill Borthwick Student Scholarship and the Integrated Forest Ecosystem Research program supported by Victoria's Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning.