Mountain Journal has often reported on the impacts of climate change enhanced fire seasons on the mountains of Australia and, in particular, on plant species.
The iconic mountain species of the mainland, the Snow Gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora), has been hammered in recent decades by multiple fires, often with small gaps between fires.
MJ previously reported on work carried out by researchers from Melbourne University who found that ‘over 90% of the Victorian distribution of snow gums has been burned at least once since 2003. What is of greater concern though, is that each of the large fires of the last 15 years has overlapped to some extent, leaving thousands of hectares of snow gums burned by wildfire twice, and sometimes three times’.
They went on to say that higher incidences of bushfires, which are likely due to climate change, are devastating for the usually fire-tolerant snow gums of southern Australia.
Now an updated version of their work has been published in the Journal of Vegetation Science which delves into whether these more frequent and severe fires are leading to higher death rates of individual trees (individual snow gums have the ability to regrow after fire from ground level regrowth – called basal resprouts – but may also be killed). This work was carried out by Tom Fairman, Lauren Bennett, Craig Nitschke, and Shauna Tupper.