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Fire Treatment

Fire is a key form of disturbance in temperate woodlands. However, its effects are complex and vary with the woodland system in question, the components of fire regimes and other factors. Fires can influences nutrient recycling, promote regeneration of some plant species, reduce the dominance of others such as dense thatches of Kangaroo Grass Themeda australis (allowing other plants to grow), and contribute to the maintenance of species richness in the ground and understorey layers.

Limited research has been conducted on fire in yellow box - Blakely's red gum grassy woodlands. For these reasons, fire was included as a treatment to examine direct effects on plants (e.g. structure, composition, biomass) and animals, and the interacting effects with other treatments.

Fire will be applied to half (48) of the sites (see diagram below). Pre-1750 fire regimes in yellow box-Blakely’s red gum grassy woodlands are essentially unknown.Therefore, the intention is not to try to recreate past fire regimes, but rather to look at the ecological effect of prescribed burns. This question is of particular importance to the management of nature reserves in the ACT because of a requirement to reduce fire fuel hazard along the urban edge for asset protection, and need for a better understanding of ecological effects of this management action. To date, due to good winter and spring rains in 2010, we were able to carry out the experimental burns in Autumn 2011. Data was collected before and after the burns and are currently been analysed. These sites will be monitored over the next few seasons to see how they change in biodiversity.

Map of burn sites in Goorooyarroo

The location of the sites that are going to be treated with fire (in red)
in the Mulligan's Flat and Goorooyarroo Nature Reserves



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