Bushfire and our habitat

To: Evan Beaver <>
Subject: Bushfire and our habitat
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2008 22:13:25 +1100
On Wed, Oct 29, 2008 at 01:12:35PM +1100, Evan Beaver wrote:
>From my own anecdotal evidence it seems pretty obvious; quite a few
> trees seem to require fire to cast seed, and some need it to
> germinate.

This is a bit of a peeve with me (OK I have lot of peeves) - you hear
this said a lot but if you think about it seems a sub-optimal strategy
for a plant to put all it eggs in one basket and keep  all its seeds in
the canopy.  I gather there is actually there is a spectrum of responses
even among famously fire-adapted groups such as Banskia and Hakeas.
Few species completely retain seeds - most release at least some seeds
between fires (google serotiny).  I believe seed dormancy is similar in that
most plants which have seeds which lie dormant until a fire (germination
triggered by heat or smoke) also produce at least some seeds which
germinate inter-fire.  As fire plays a large role in reproduction in many
Australian plants, I guess its more pedantry than anything else though.

Rob Whelan who has doen a lot of work on fire ecology at Barren Grounds
and other areas around Sydney has a book which I've been meaning to buy &

I'd agree with a lot Chris said.  My personal opinion is that fire
management goals are often so vague, incoherent and/or unquantifiable
that the limitation of our knowledge don't matter.


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