Our research focuses on the population dynamics of plants and how they are influenced by impacts of natural disturbances and global environmental change. We are particularly interested in the interactive effects of fire, grazing and drought in grasslands and woodlands in southern Australia, and how climate change, fragmentation and shrub encroachment affect ecosystems.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Linear Native Grasslands and Fire

This short video - Linear Reserves Project - details how conservation of threatened native grasslands on linear reserves such as roadsides is advantaged by burning for asset protection.

The best examples of native grasslands on the Victorian Volcanic Plains are those that have had a long history of frequent fire and little grazing. This has happened almost by accident. The Country Fire Authority (CFA) burns roadsides in summer to mitigate the risk of fire sweeping across that landscape. As it happens, such a regime promotes light sensitive forbs and grasses, including a multitude of geophytes, because it reduces the probability of competitive exclusion by tall C4 grasses. Few exotic grasses move into intact systems under this regime too. It's interesting to see the CFA now promotes roadside vegetation conservation, seeing a mutual benefit of maintaining these endangered ecosystems (because of the reduced fire risk from low biomass grasslands relative to higher biomass exotics).

There's some excellent shots of fire taken by drones, lots on lovely photos of grasslands and their biodiversity, and a cautionary tale about the need to recognise endangered vegetation.