© 2014 Ecological Society of Australia
Edited By: Michael Bull
Impact Factor: 1.738
ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2012: 74/136 (Ecology)
Online ISSN: 1442-9993
Associated Title(s): Ecological Management & Restoration
Recently Published Issues
Virtual Issue: Ecological Impacts of Fire - May 2014
Fire is an important ecological process in southern hemisphere ecosystems. This virtual issue of Austral Ecology highlights 12 papers first published in 2013 that explore the impacts of fire. Although fire is a common theme of these papers, the study sites range from tropical to cool temperate, and to arid desert ecosystems, and from Australia to South Africa and New Caledonia. The topics covered include the regeneration responses of plants in grasslands, forests and woodlands, behavioural responses of reptiles, and population and community responses to fire among mammals and invertebrates. They record the impact of invasive species on changing fire regimes, and the influence of fire in accelerating invasions. They discuss the role of natural fire regimes in maintaining ecotones, and the impacts of changing fire regimes on plant diversity. Fire management has become a compelling topic in southern ecosystems where protection of human property and lives has to be balanced against the natural ecological processes that sustain biodiversity. These papers contribute to the growing knowledge base that will be required to manage that balance. Read the Virtual Issue here.
In comparison with drylands elsewhere, the unpredictability of rainfall in central Australia is globally distinctive. The transformative rhythms of arid Australia reflect extremes of climatic conditions rather than seasons, and are characterized by irregular pulses of productivity that punctuate long periods of drought ... In 2010 and 2011 flooding rains broke long-standing rainfall records and triggered an anticipated greening of the typically dry red landscapes of central Australia. These unusual climatic events provided an unparalleled opportunity to test ideas about productivity and function, bottom-up versus top-down effects, and differential responses of biota that reflect landscape connections and heterogeneity.
The papers presented in this special issue describe how ecologists and managers responded to the unprecedented rainfall events, key lessons that we have learnt, and practical recommendations on how to improve conservation outcomes for the fragile inland environment into the future. Read the Special Issue.
Tropical savannas are the world’s most fire-prone biome, making fire a key issue for the maintenance of savanna ecosystem function and for the management of savanna biodiversity. Savanna burning also makes a significant contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions, through its effects on emissions of methane and nitrous oxide, and on carbon sequestration. There is growing international interest in reducing the extent and severity of savanna fires in the context of greenhouse gas abatement.
Savanna burning, therefore, sees an unprecedented meeting of interests relating to biodiversity protection, greenhouse gas abatement, and culturally appropriate economic opportunity for historically marginalized communities. Read the Special Issue here.