To investigate the relative importance of fire related variables (fire return interval and fire severity) and environmental factors (climate and topography) on seedling establishment in Eucalyptus regnans.
Type of Study:
Eucalyptus regnans seedling presence and abundance were strongly related to the occurrence of fire but not to variation in fire severity (moderate vs. high severity). Seedling abundance increased with increasing fire return interval (range 26–300 years). First-year seedling establishment was also strongly associated with lowtemperatures and with high elevations, high precipitation and persistent soil water availability. These results show that both climate and fire regimes are strong drivers of E. regnans seedling establishment. The predicted warming and drying of the climate might reduce the regeneration potential for some obligate seeders in future and these threats are likely to be compounded by changes in fire regimes, particularly increases in fire frequency.
Protecting old-growth forest, and younger forest so it can become old-growth forest, will not only help maintain regeneration potential but may also moderate increases in fire frequency. Urgent changes to current forest management practices are essential to achieve this protection.
Generalized liinear models.
Central Highlands, Victoria.
Response variable :
Presence or abundance of Eucalyptus regnans seedlings.
Smith A.L., Blair D., McBurney L., Banks S.C., Barton P.S., Blanchard W., Driscoll D.A., Gill A.M. & Lindenmayer D.B. (2014) Dominant drivers of seedling establishment in a fire-dependent obligate seeder: climate or fire regimes? Ecosystems 17, 258-270.