Login | Request Account (DAF staff only)

Very frequent burning encourages tree growth in sub-tropical Australian eucalypt forest

View Altmetrics

Lewis, T. (2020) Very frequent burning encourages tree growth in sub-tropical Australian eucalypt forest. Forest Ecology and Management, 459 . p. 117842. ISSN 0378-1127

Full text not currently attached. Access may be available via the Publisher's website or OpenAccess link.

Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2019.117842

Publisher URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112719322716


Frequent fire often has a negative impact of tree recruitment and growth. Tree growth rates, density and recruitment were compared among treatments of annual burning since 1952, triennial burning since 1973 and no burning (1946 to 1996) or single wildfire (1996 to 2018), in a dry sclerophyll eucalypt forest, south-eastern Queensland, Australia. Tree diameter (at breast height, DBH) growth rates were greater in the annually burnt treatment than in the triennially burn and single wildfire treatments over the period from 1974 to 2018, and these differences were also apparent pre-wildfire (period from 1974 to 1996). In the period from 1996 to 2018, the annually burnt treatment had greater DBH growth relative to the single wildfire treatment, but the triennial treatment had intermediate growth rates. Competitive interactions between trees (assessed using plot basal area) also had a negative impact on individual tree growth rates. The impacts of different fire regimes at this site on tree crown health were not apparent (P > 0.05) and there was only limited evidence that differences in growth rates were due to differences in soil nutrients (marginally higher topsoil phosphorus in the frequently burnt treatments, P = 0.075). Greater tree growth rates in the annually burnt treatment may be related to the lower density of understorey woody plants in this treatment and potentially reduced competition for soil moisture. The density of trees (DBH ≥ 10 cm) in 2018 was surprisingly higher in the triennially burnt treatment (381 stems/ha) relative to both the annually burnt (192 stems/ha) and single wildfire (234 stems/ha) treatments. This was largely due a higher level of recruitment over time and a higher density of stems 10–20 cm DBH in triennially burnt plots. Concerns regarding the impacts of frequent prescribed fire on tree recruitment and growth may be unwarranted in these remarkably resilient dry eucalypt forests.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Horticulture and Forestry Science
Additional Information:Horticulture and Forestry Science
Keywords:Competition, fire regime Soil fertility Tree density Vegetation structure
Subjects:Science > Botany > Plant physiology
Science > Botany > Plant ecology
Forestry > Research. Experimentation
Forestry > Forestry management
Live Archive:01 Jun 2020 05:27
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:45

Repository Staff Only: item control page