Johnson_and_MarsdenSmedley_2002_FireHistNthWha.pdf (370.38 kB)
Fire history of the northern part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and its associated regions
journal contributionposted on 2023-11-05, 22:23 authored by JB Marsden-Smedley, KA Johnson
Fire history (from the 1820s to 2000) in the northern quarter of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and its associated regions is discussed in this paper. This area includes Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Granite Tor Conservation Area, Walls of Jerusalem National Park and the Central Plateau Conservation Area west of Great Lake. In common with fire history in southwest Tasmania, there have been major changes in fire regimes during the last 180 years, with major fires in the 1890s (most probably in 1896-97 or 1897-98 or both) and the 1930s (most probably in 1933-34). However, in contrast to southwest Tasmania, there were major fires until the early 1960s: in the early 1950s in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and Granite Tor Conservation Area, and in 1960-61 in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park and the Central Plateau Conservation Area. Between the 1930s and 1960s over 40% of the study area or about 129 000 ha was burnt. About half of the study area's fire-sensitive vegetation (i.e., alpine, subalpine heath, subalpine rainforest, rainforest and native conifer) was burnt in these fires. The last of these fires - the 1960-61 Central Plateau fire was the biggest and most destructive fire in the World Heritage Area since the 1930s. Less than 3% of the study area was burnt between 1970 and 2000.