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Fire maintains an Acacia aneura shrubland-Triodia grassland mosaic in central Australia

Bowman, David, Boggs, Guy S. and Prior, Lynda (2008). Fire maintains an Acacia aneura shrubland-Triodia grassland mosaic in central Australia. Journal of Arid Environments,72(1):34-47.

Document type: Journal Article

IRMA ID A00004xPUB91
Title Fire maintains an Acacia aneura shrubland-Triodia grassland mosaic in central Australia
Author Bowman, David
Boggs, Guy S.
Prior, Lynda
Journal Name Journal of Arid Environments
Publication Date 2008
Volume Number 72
Issue Number 1
ISSN 1095-922X   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-36248932590
Start Page 34
End Page 47
Total Pages 14
Place of Publication UK
Publisher Elsevier
Field of Research 0499 - Other Earth Sciences
0502 - Environmental Science and Management
0607 - Plant Biology
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Patches of fire-sensitive, closed-canopy Acacia aneura shrubland occur within a matrix of highly flammable Triodia grasslands in central Australia (<400 mm mean annual precipitation). We used digitised repeat aerial photography to chart the dynamics of these mosaics over 52 years (1950–2002). During this period, traditional Aboriginal fire management had largely ceased. The spatial extent of A. aneura shrubland patches varied over the 52-year study period but the aggregated change was small (an increase of 3.1% from 1950 to 2002, with the largest excursion a 13.1% decrease between 1950 and 1983). This change was restricted to within 50 m of boundaries between the shrublands and grasslands. Statistical modelling for the period for which landscape fire activity was available (1980–2002) showed that the dynamism of the boundaries was associated with burning. Fire effects on boundaries were mediated by the size of A. aneura patches, with small patches most likely to contract, explaining the dynamic spatial arrangement of small patches in the landscape. We conclude that a series of reinforcing fire, soil and vegetation feedbacks maintain the mosaic of shrubland patches. However these feedbacks might eventually be overwhelmed by large and sustained changes to fire regimes, leading to the landscape-wide dominance of Triodia grasslands.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2007.04.001   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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Created: Wed, 06 May 2009, 09:21:28 CST by Sarena Wegener