University of Canberra
Research Projects
PhD: The Effect of Fire Severity on Plant Species Richness, Plant Community Composition and Vegetation Structure in Montane Ecosystems in South Eastern New South Wales
State/Territory: ACT

While the economic and social impacts of large landscape fires in south eastern Australia are, arguably, well known, the effects of such fires on plant species persistence, plant species richness, vegetation composition and vegetation structure have not been well studied due to a lack of adequate before and after quantitative studies. Such large unplanned landscape fires tend to be infrequent in alpine, subalpine, montane and associated plant communities in south-eastern Australia but when these fires do occur, they are often widespread in the landscape and burn extensive areas at high intensity, as occurred in the fire events of 1938-1939 and 2003 in the Australian Alps. This research is utilising data collected in the northern Brindabellas west of Canberra before and after the 2003 fire event to investigate mechanisms of plant species persistence, to examine patterns of plant species richness before and after fire and to track changes in species composition and structure within plant communities over time after fire. The research is investigating these questions in the context of the concept of the fire regime and succession theory including the initial floristic composition model and the intermediate disturbance hypothesis.

Geographic location:
Brindabella ranges, west of Canberra, adjacent to the NSW/ACT border: Bimberi Nature Reserve, Burrinjuck Nature Reserve, Brindabella National Park and Brindabella State Conservation Area
Research theme:
Climate Change and Sustainability
Organisation:
ANU Fenner School; CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences
Collaborator:
NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service (DECCW)
Funding agency:
Partly supported through CSIRO & NSW DECCW
Main researchers:
Mr. Michael Doherty
Timing:
01 Jan 2003 - 30 May 2015