Re: birding-aus DESPAIR & ECSTACEY

To: "Alexandra Appleman" <>, "birding Aus" <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus DESPAIR & ECSTACEY
From: Goodfellow <>
Date: Sun, 7 Nov 99 16:42:59 +0930
Alexandra and all
I assume that the fire regime in the Top End before Aboriginal occupation 
of Australia was one of hot fires caused by lightning strike and 
occurring late in the year.  And this is still the case in areas far away 
from settlements.    Edges of monsoon forest are burnt late in the year 
to encourage flowering of fruit trees  andI read somewhere that this was 
thought to be in part responsible for shrinking of monsoon forest areas 
in the Top End.   But then again the introduced Passiflora foetida may 
also play a part, its dried stems carrying fire into such areas.  

As far as I know floodplain areas are burnt after cracks have appeared in 
the ground but this depends.  If people want to get rid of death adders 
they'll fire beforehand so the snakes have nowhere to shelter.  Esther 
wanted to 'clean up' pandanus woodland while we were collecting colour 
and pandanus at Kudjekbinj in September.  But none of us had matches and 
rubbing two sticks together is for the birds these days (ever tried it?  
It's really hard work!).     

Tropical eucalypts tend to be fire-tolerant rather than fire-encouraging 
like temperate climate ones.  Their leaves have a lower, less volatile 
oil content and their barks do not decorticate in long, flammable 
strands.  So even when they do burn many animals survive especially 
during the early to mid part of the year.   However as eucalypts, 
especially in rocky savannah woodland tend to be hollow they burn through 
rather easily and annual fires might rid an area of such trees and the 
shelter they provide to a whole range of animals.

 A couple of pasture grasses have got a foothold in parts of  the Top End 
and they tend to carry fire late in the year. 

Denise Goodfellow
To unsubscribe from this list, please send a message to

Include ONLY "unsubscribe birding-aus" in the message body (without the

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU