Effects of fire history on the structure and floristic composition of woody vegetation around Kalumburu, North Kimberley, Australia

a landscape-scale natural experiment

T Vigilante, David Bowman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Indigenous landscape burning is practiced around remote communities in the Kimberleys but has been replaced by wildfires across uninhabited areas. A landscape-scale natural experiment was established to investigate the effects of these different fire histories (derived from a 10-year Landsat remote-sensing sequence) on the floristic structure and composition of woody vegetation within and among three of the major vegetation types on three landscape types (sandplain, sandstone and volcanics) near Kalumburu in the North Kimberley bioregion. Substrate factors determine vegetation and associated fire patterns within the landscape such that each landscape type needs to be examined independently. Basalt soils are dominated by an open savanna and tend to have very high fire frequencies. Basalt vegetation showed few significant response variables to fire-history parameters. The total density of woody stems showed no significant relationship to fire-history variables, regardless of size class. The 0-2.0-m size class of Erythrophleum chlomstachys (F.Muell.) Baillon showed significant (P < 0.005) responses to the various interactions involving all three fire-history variables, indicating that seedling density is sensitive to fire. Sandplain is dominated by open woodland, with relatively low fire frequency. Total stem density, shrub density and the densities of Grevillea agrifolia Cunn. Ex R.Br., Canthium sp. A and Stenocarpus cunninghamii R.Br. showed strong positive (P < 0.005) relationships with the total number of fire-free months. In sandstone, the density of all woody stems, acacias and a range of mid-storey trees showed significant positive relationships with the total number of fire-free months. Other species showed strong relationships with the number of late dry season fires. Vegetation thickening was evident in sand environments through the accumulation of woody stems in fire-free years and in sandstone through the promotion of 'fireweeds' such as Acacia gonocarpa F.Muell. after fire events. Mid-storey tree species capable of resprouting after fire showed some evidence of structural suppression in response to frequent fire events, including Planchonia careya (F.Muell.) Knuth, Persoonia falcata R.Br. and Buchanania obovata Engl. Results are discussed in the context of indigenous landscape burning and biodiversity conservation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)381-404
    Number of pages24
    JournalAustralian Journal of Botany
    Volume52
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2004

    Fingerprint

    fire history
    floristics
    history
    vegetation
    experiment
    stem
    sandstone
    stems
    basalt
    effect
    resprouting
    Buchanania
    Canthium
    Erythrophleum
    Grevillea
    wildfire
    savanna
    vegetation type
    Landsat
    dry season

    Cite this

    @article{45a45949618a4dfaa938e58e70cb8b2b,
    title = "Effects of fire history on the structure and floristic composition of woody vegetation around Kalumburu, North Kimberley, Australia: a landscape-scale natural experiment",
    abstract = "Indigenous landscape burning is practiced around remote communities in the Kimberleys but has been replaced by wildfires across uninhabited areas. A landscape-scale natural experiment was established to investigate the effects of these different fire histories (derived from a 10-year Landsat remote-sensing sequence) on the floristic structure and composition of woody vegetation within and among three of the major vegetation types on three landscape types (sandplain, sandstone and volcanics) near Kalumburu in the North Kimberley bioregion. Substrate factors determine vegetation and associated fire patterns within the landscape such that each landscape type needs to be examined independently. Basalt soils are dominated by an open savanna and tend to have very high fire frequencies. Basalt vegetation showed few significant response variables to fire-history parameters. The total density of woody stems showed no significant relationship to fire-history variables, regardless of size class. The 0-2.0-m size class of Erythrophleum chlomstachys (F.Muell.) Baillon showed significant (P < 0.005) responses to the various interactions involving all three fire-history variables, indicating that seedling density is sensitive to fire. Sandplain is dominated by open woodland, with relatively low fire frequency. Total stem density, shrub density and the densities of Grevillea agrifolia Cunn. Ex R.Br., Canthium sp. A and Stenocarpus cunninghamii R.Br. showed strong positive (P < 0.005) relationships with the total number of fire-free months. In sandstone, the density of all woody stems, acacias and a range of mid-storey trees showed significant positive relationships with the total number of fire-free months. Other species showed strong relationships with the number of late dry season fires. Vegetation thickening was evident in sand environments through the accumulation of woody stems in fire-free years and in sandstone through the promotion of 'fireweeds' such as Acacia gonocarpa F.Muell. after fire events. Mid-storey tree species capable of resprouting after fire showed some evidence of structural suppression in response to frequent fire events, including Planchonia careya (F.Muell.) Knuth, Persoonia falcata R.Br. and Buchanania obovata Engl. Results are discussed in the context of indigenous landscape burning and biodiversity conservation.",
    keywords = "community structure, fire history, plant community, substrate, vegetation type, woody plant, Australasia, Australia, Kalumburu, Western Australia, Acacia, Bassia scoparia, Canthium, Careya, Erythrophleum, Grevillea, Kochia, Persoonia, Planchonia, Scoparia, Stenocarpus",
    author = "T Vigilante and David Bowman",
    year = "2004",
    language = "English",
    volume = "52",
    pages = "381--404",
    journal = "Australian Journal of Botany",
    issn = "0067-1924",
    publisher = "CSIRO Publishing",
    number = "3",

    }

    Effects of fire history on the structure and floristic composition of woody vegetation around Kalumburu, North Kimberley, Australia : a landscape-scale natural experiment. / Vigilante, T; Bowman, David.

    In: Australian Journal of Botany, Vol. 52, No. 3, 2004, p. 381-404.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Effects of fire history on the structure and floristic composition of woody vegetation around Kalumburu, North Kimberley, Australia

    T2 - a landscape-scale natural experiment

    AU - Vigilante, T

    AU - Bowman, David

    PY - 2004

    Y1 - 2004

    N2 - Indigenous landscape burning is practiced around remote communities in the Kimberleys but has been replaced by wildfires across uninhabited areas. A landscape-scale natural experiment was established to investigate the effects of these different fire histories (derived from a 10-year Landsat remote-sensing sequence) on the floristic structure and composition of woody vegetation within and among three of the major vegetation types on three landscape types (sandplain, sandstone and volcanics) near Kalumburu in the North Kimberley bioregion. Substrate factors determine vegetation and associated fire patterns within the landscape such that each landscape type needs to be examined independently. Basalt soils are dominated by an open savanna and tend to have very high fire frequencies. Basalt vegetation showed few significant response variables to fire-history parameters. The total density of woody stems showed no significant relationship to fire-history variables, regardless of size class. The 0-2.0-m size class of Erythrophleum chlomstachys (F.Muell.) Baillon showed significant (P < 0.005) responses to the various interactions involving all three fire-history variables, indicating that seedling density is sensitive to fire. Sandplain is dominated by open woodland, with relatively low fire frequency. Total stem density, shrub density and the densities of Grevillea agrifolia Cunn. Ex R.Br., Canthium sp. A and Stenocarpus cunninghamii R.Br. showed strong positive (P < 0.005) relationships with the total number of fire-free months. In sandstone, the density of all woody stems, acacias and a range of mid-storey trees showed significant positive relationships with the total number of fire-free months. Other species showed strong relationships with the number of late dry season fires. Vegetation thickening was evident in sand environments through the accumulation of woody stems in fire-free years and in sandstone through the promotion of 'fireweeds' such as Acacia gonocarpa F.Muell. after fire events. Mid-storey tree species capable of resprouting after fire showed some evidence of structural suppression in response to frequent fire events, including Planchonia careya (F.Muell.) Knuth, Persoonia falcata R.Br. and Buchanania obovata Engl. Results are discussed in the context of indigenous landscape burning and biodiversity conservation.

    AB - Indigenous landscape burning is practiced around remote communities in the Kimberleys but has been replaced by wildfires across uninhabited areas. A landscape-scale natural experiment was established to investigate the effects of these different fire histories (derived from a 10-year Landsat remote-sensing sequence) on the floristic structure and composition of woody vegetation within and among three of the major vegetation types on three landscape types (sandplain, sandstone and volcanics) near Kalumburu in the North Kimberley bioregion. Substrate factors determine vegetation and associated fire patterns within the landscape such that each landscape type needs to be examined independently. Basalt soils are dominated by an open savanna and tend to have very high fire frequencies. Basalt vegetation showed few significant response variables to fire-history parameters. The total density of woody stems showed no significant relationship to fire-history variables, regardless of size class. The 0-2.0-m size class of Erythrophleum chlomstachys (F.Muell.) Baillon showed significant (P < 0.005) responses to the various interactions involving all three fire-history variables, indicating that seedling density is sensitive to fire. Sandplain is dominated by open woodland, with relatively low fire frequency. Total stem density, shrub density and the densities of Grevillea agrifolia Cunn. Ex R.Br., Canthium sp. A and Stenocarpus cunninghamii R.Br. showed strong positive (P < 0.005) relationships with the total number of fire-free months. In sandstone, the density of all woody stems, acacias and a range of mid-storey trees showed significant positive relationships with the total number of fire-free months. Other species showed strong relationships with the number of late dry season fires. Vegetation thickening was evident in sand environments through the accumulation of woody stems in fire-free years and in sandstone through the promotion of 'fireweeds' such as Acacia gonocarpa F.Muell. after fire events. Mid-storey tree species capable of resprouting after fire showed some evidence of structural suppression in response to frequent fire events, including Planchonia careya (F.Muell.) Knuth, Persoonia falcata R.Br. and Buchanania obovata Engl. Results are discussed in the context of indigenous landscape burning and biodiversity conservation.

    KW - community structure

    KW - fire history

    KW - plant community

    KW - substrate

    KW - vegetation type

    KW - woody plant

    KW - Australasia

    KW - Australia

    KW - Kalumburu

    KW - Western Australia

    KW - Acacia

    KW - Bassia scoparia

    KW - Canthium

    KW - Careya

    KW - Erythrophleum

    KW - Grevillea

    KW - Kochia

    KW - Persoonia

    KW - Planchonia

    KW - Scoparia

    KW - Stenocarpus

    M3 - Article

    VL - 52

    SP - 381

    EP - 404

    JO - Australian Journal of Botany

    JF - Australian Journal of Botany

    SN - 0067-1924

    IS - 3

    ER -