From the ashes: predicting the need for restoration in fire-affected landscapes

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Melinda Pickup, Juan Pablo Riveros , Tein McDonald

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The fires in Australia in 2019/2020 were unprecedented in terms of their scale, severity and impact on native flora and fauna communities. These wildfires also occurred in the context of many ongoing threats (e.g., pests, diseases, habitat fragmentation) and stressors (e.g., drought), which can influence the inherent regenerative capacity of fire-affected communities. Given the level of extent and impact, it is crucial to understand how and where restoration strategies can be used to facilitate post-fire recovery and how these can be used for risk amelioration and improving landscape resilience to future fire events. These activities may range from providing protection to allow natural regeneration or assisted regeneration, to targeted seed inputs to facilitate the recovery of non-regenerating groups or species. We present the results of our predictive framework to help identify the vegetation communities and locations in greatest need of intervention to assist natural regeneration. This framework and spatially based model focusses on fire history, fire severity, pre-fire drought and proximity to cleared areas, but also considers the context of pre-disturbance vegetation condition. For each community, we also use plant trait data such as fire response (obligate seeder and resprouter) and regeneration (e.g., soil seed banks, time to seed production, seed storage) to help identify at risk communities and develop strategies to promote resilience to subsequent fire events. Our aim is to develop a practical and applicable model to assess the need for post-fire intervention while considering landscape resilience and that recovery will occur in a rapidly changing world

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program