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Propensities of Old Growth, Mature and Regrowth Wet Eucalypt Forest, and Eucalyptus nitens Plantation, to Burn During Wildfire and Suffer Fire-Induced Crown Death

Discipline of Geography and Spatial Sciences, University of Tasmania, Hobart 7001, Australia
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Received: 7 April 2020 / Revised: 2 May 2020 / Accepted: 10 May 2020 / Published: 14 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bushfire in Tasmania)
There are conflicting conclusions on how the flammability of wet eucalypt forests changes in the time after disturbances such as logging or wildfire. Some conclude that forests are most flammable in the decades following disturbance, while others conclude that disturbance has no effect on flammability. The comparative flammability of Eucalyptus nitens plantations in the same environment as wet eucalypt forest is not known. We determined fire incidence and fire severity in regrowth, mature and old growth wet eucalypt forest, and E. nitens plantation, in the Huon Valley, Tasmania after the January–February 2019 wildfire. To control for topographic variation and fire weather, we randomly selected sites within the fire footprint, then randomly located a paired site for each in different forest types in the same topographic environment within 3 km. Each pair of sites was burned on the same day. Old growth forest and plantations were the least likely to burn. Old growth and mature forest exhibited scorched eucalypt crowns to a much lesser degree than regrowth forests. In a comparison of paired sites, plantation forest was less likely to burn than combined mature and old growth forests, but in all cases of detected ignition the canopy of plantation was scorched. The lower flammability of older forests, and their importance as an increasing store of carbon, suggests that a cessation of logging outside plantations might have considerable benefits. View Full-Text
Keywords: fire; logging; old-growth; plantation; regrowth; Tasmania; wet eucalypt forest fire; logging; old-growth; plantation; regrowth; Tasmania; wet eucalypt forest
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Winoto-Lewin, S.; Sanger, J.C.; Kirkpatrick, J.B. Propensities of Old Growth, Mature and Regrowth Wet Eucalypt Forest, and Eucalyptus nitens Plantation, to Burn During Wildfire and Suffer Fire-Induced Crown Death. Fire 2020, 3, 13.

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