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Understanding the effects of fire on invertebrates in Australian temperate and sub-tropical forests: the value of long-term experiments

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York, A. and Lewis, T. (2017) Understanding the effects of fire on invertebrates in Australian temperate and sub-tropical forests: the value of long-term experiments. Australian Zoologist . n/a.

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.7882/az.2017.020

Publisher URL: http://publications.rzsnsw.org.au/doi/abs/10.7882/AZ.2017.020


Fire is a common feature of Australian forests and prescribed burning is a routine management strategy, often utilised to mitigate the effects of wildfire. However, the impacts of fire on terrestrial invertebrates are poorly understood. Here we provide an overview of continuing long-term fire studies in temperate and sub-tropical forest ecosystems, with a focus on terrestrial invertebrates. Longitudinal fire study sites exist in southern Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania. Most studies have focussed on fire frequency and have identified certain taxa or taxonomic groups that prefer either habitat associated with long unburnt areas, habitat associated with more frequently burnt areas or those that show no response to varied fire frequency. The limited number of studies investigating fire season report similar findings, but there are few studies that have focussed on other components of the fire regime. Long-term experiments are important when studying the effects of various fire regimes on invertebrate assemblages as responses often take time to be expressed, and may follow changes in habitat availability associated with interactions between components of the fire regime. We recommend that ecological studies continue to utilise long-term study sites through monitoring programs to improve our understanding of how invertebrate taxa respond to fire regimes; and to better identify the important role of invertebrate groups in ecosystem functioning (e.g. for nutrient cycling, pollination).

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Horticulture and Forestry Science
Keywords:fire regime,habitat,fire frequency,prescribed burning,animal populations
Subjects:Forestry > Research. Experimentation
Forestry > Conservation and protection
Live Archive:10 Jan 2018 01:53
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:51

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