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Title: Fire regime (recency, interval and season) changes the composition of spinifex ('Triodia' spp.): dominated desert dunes
Contributor(s): Wright, Boyd  (author)orcid ; Clarke, Peter John  (author)
Publication Date: 2007
DOI: 10.1071/BT06240
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Abstract: Between 2000 and 2002, central Australia experienced the largest fire season in three decades when ~500 000 km² burned. The effects of these and preceding wildfires in the 1980s on spinifex ('Triodia' spp.) sand-ridge plant communities were examined at 38 sites in central Australia. We used both multivariate and univariate techniques to assess floristic differences among sites of contrasting time-since-fire, fire season and fire interval. Time-since-fire had a consistent floristic influence across the landscape, with increased abundances of ephemeral grasses and forbs and 'Triodia' seedlings, and species richness soon after fire but decreasing long after fire. Fire season had little effect on most functional groups of plants, although seedlings of woody species were significantly more abundant following summer than winter fires. Likewise, recent short fire intervals appeared to have little impact on the population dynamics of most functional groups, although some transient effects were observed on abundances of ephemeral forbs, 'Triodia' seedlings and herbaceous clonal species. Long-term woody species abundances appeared to be affected by short fire intervals in the 1980s when repeated fires seemed to stimulate recruitment of some resprouting species. The present study highlighted the relative stability of spinifex vegetation types in the face of landscape-scale pyric perturbation, but emphasised that localised shifts in the composition and structure of the plant community may occur under certain fire regimes.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian Journal of Botany, 55(7), p. 709-724
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Melbourne, Australia
ISSN: 0067-1924
Field of Research (FOR): 060208 Terrestrial Ecology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 960804 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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