1998_Marsden-Smedley_Changes.pdf (2.19 MB)
Changes in southwestern Tasmanian fire regimes since the early 1800s
journal contributionposted on 2023-11-02, 05:01 authored by JB Marsden-Smedley
There have been major changes in the fire regime of southwestern Tasmania over the past 170 years. The fire regime has changed from an Aboriginal fire regime of frequent low-intensity fires in buttongrass moorland (mostly in spring and autumn) with only the occasional high-intensity forest fire, to the early European fire regime of frequent high-intensity fires in all vegetation types, to a regime of low to medium intensity buttongrass moorland fires and finally to the current regime of few fires. These changes in the fire regime resulted in major impacts to the region's fire-sensitive vegetation types during the early European period, while the current low fire frequency across much of southwestern Tasmania has resulted in a large proportion of the region's fire-adapted buttongrass moorland being classified as old-growth. These extensive areas of old-growth buttongrass moorland mean that the potential for another large-scale ecologically damaging wildfire is high and, to avoid this, it would be better to re-introduce a regime of low-intensity fires into the region.