Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

Rainforest Fire in Western Tasmania

RS Hill

Australian Journal of Botany 30(6) 583 - 589
Published: 1982


Humus/surface litter fires in cool temperate rainforest have received little attention in Tasmania. Past studies suggest that these fires are the result of drought, which dries the humus and surface litter to a flammable level. Such fires are probably extremely variable in effect and extent because of their reliance on weather conditions. A humus/surface litter fire at Zeehan was species-specific, affecting Nothofagus cunninghamii and Eucryphia lucida in particular. The trees which survived were growing on humus that-was too shallow to sustain the fire, and they escaped being burnt. The survival of some trees of all the major species in unburnt areas within the fire boundary will probably be important in regeneration by providing a nearby source of seed. Three months after the fire, seedlings from the fire-stimulated germination of humus-stored Acacia melanoxylon seeds were abundant but the majority died within the following 6 months.

© CSIRO 1982

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