An application of plant functional types to fire management in a conservation reserve in southeastern Australia

Authors

  • R.A. Bradstock,

    Corresponding author
    1. Biodiversity Research and Management Division, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Box 1967, Hurstville NSW 2220, Australia
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  • B.J. Kenny

    1. Biodiversity Research and Management Division, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Box 1967, Hurstville NSW 2220, Australia
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Corresponding author; Fax+ 61295856606; E-mail ross.bradstock@npws.nsw.gov.au

Abstract

Abstract. The vital attribute system of Noble & Slatyer (1980) was used to classify the fire-prone flora of Brisbane Water National Park (New South Wales, Australia) into plant functional types (PFTs), reflecting sensitivity to fire frequency (intervals between fire). A variety of information was used to assess the vital attributes of species in the predominant woodland/open-forest vegetation within the Park. This was sufficient to allocate 54% of the species to functional types. Ca. 20% of the species belonged to PFTs defined as sensitive to either frequent or infrequent fire (e.g. obligate seeder types). Varied methods, based on the nature and quality of data were used to estimate juvenile periods and life spans among species in these types, however the estimates derived in each case were similar. On this basis, a domain of ‘acceptable’ fire intervals (7 to 30 yr) was derived for the woodland/open-forest vegetation. Given the overall proportion of species considered, plus congruence between differing methods and sources of data, this domain was relatively robust. A landscape analysis using the domain indicated that the current trend in fire intervals, across the Park, may be adverse to floristic conservation.

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