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Fire regimes and carbon in Australian vegetation

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Abstract


  • Fires regularly affect many of the world's terrestrial ecosystems, and, as a result, fires mediate

    the exchange of greenhouse gases (GHG) between the land and the atmosphere at a global scale

    and affect the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to store carbon (Bowman et al. 2009). Variations

    in fire -regimes can therefore potentially affect the global, regional and local carbon

    balance and, potentially, climate change itself (Bonan 2008). Here we examine how variation in

    fire regimes (Gill 1975; Bradstock et al. 2002) will potentially affect carbon in fire-prone Australian

    ecosystems via interactions with the stocks and transfers of carbon that are inherent to

    all terrestrial ecosystems.

    There are two key reasons why an appreciation of fire regimes is needed to comprehend the

    fate of terrestrial carbon. First, the status of terrestrial carbon over time will be a function of

    the balance between losses (emissions) from individual fires (of differing type, season and

    intensity), which occur as a result of immediate combustion as well as mortality and longerterm

    decomposition of dead biomass, and carbon that accumulates during regeneration in the

    intervals between fires. The length of the interval between fires will determine the amount of

    biomass that accumulates. Second, fire regimes influence the composition and structure of

    ecosystems and key processes such as plant mortality and recruitment. Hence, alternative trajectories

    of vegetation composition and structure that result from differing fire regimes will

    affect carbon dynamics.

    We explore these themes and summarise the dynamic aspects of carbon stocks and transfers

    in relation to fire, present conceptual models of carbon dynamics and fire regimes, and

    review how variation in fire regimes may affect overall storage potential as a function of fireinduced

    losses and post-fire uptake in two widespread Australian vegetation types. We then

    appraise future trends under global change and the likely potential for managing fire regimes

    for carbon 'benefits', especially with respect to emissions.

Authors


  •   Williams, Richard J. (external author)
  •   Bradstock, Ross A.
  •   Barrett, Damian J. (external author)
  •   Beringer, Jason (external author)
  •   Boer, Mathias M. (external author)
  •   Cary, Geoff J. (external author)
  •   Cook, Garry (external author)
  •   Gill, A Malcolm. (external author)
  •   Hutley, Lindsay B. (external author)
  •   Keith, Heather (external author)
  •   Maier, Stefan W. (external author)
  •   Meyer, C P (external author)
  •   Price, Owen F.
  •   Roxburgh, Stephen H. (external author)
  •   Russell-Smith, Jeremy (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Williams, R. J., Bradstock, R. A., Barrett, D., Beringer, J., Boer, M. M., Cary, G. J., Cook, G. D., Gill, A. Malcolm., Hutley, L. B., Keith, H., Maier, S. W., Meyer, C. (Mick)., Price, O., Roxburgh, S. H. & Russell-Smith, J. (2012). Fire regimes and carbon in Australian vegetation. In R. A. Bradstock, A. Malcolm. Gill & R. J. Williams (Eds.), Flammable Australia: Fire Regimes, Biodiversity and Ecosystems in a Changing World (pp. 273-291). Collingwood, Vic: CSIRO Publishing.

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9780643104822

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1514&context=smhpapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/smhpapers/502

Book Title


  • Flammable Australia: Fire Regimes, Biodiversity and Ecosystems in a Changing World

Start Page


  • 273

End Page


  • 291

Place Of Publication


  • Collingwood, Vic

Abstract


  • Fires regularly affect many of the world's terrestrial ecosystems, and, as a result, fires mediate

    the exchange of greenhouse gases (GHG) between the land and the atmosphere at a global scale

    and affect the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to store carbon (Bowman et al. 2009). Variations

    in fire -regimes can therefore potentially affect the global, regional and local carbon

    balance and, potentially, climate change itself (Bonan 2008). Here we examine how variation in

    fire regimes (Gill 1975; Bradstock et al. 2002) will potentially affect carbon in fire-prone Australian

    ecosystems via interactions with the stocks and transfers of carbon that are inherent to

    all terrestrial ecosystems.

    There are two key reasons why an appreciation of fire regimes is needed to comprehend the

    fate of terrestrial carbon. First, the status of terrestrial carbon over time will be a function of

    the balance between losses (emissions) from individual fires (of differing type, season and

    intensity), which occur as a result of immediate combustion as well as mortality and longerterm

    decomposition of dead biomass, and carbon that accumulates during regeneration in the

    intervals between fires. The length of the interval between fires will determine the amount of

    biomass that accumulates. Second, fire regimes influence the composition and structure of

    ecosystems and key processes such as plant mortality and recruitment. Hence, alternative trajectories

    of vegetation composition and structure that result from differing fire regimes will

    affect carbon dynamics.

    We explore these themes and summarise the dynamic aspects of carbon stocks and transfers

    in relation to fire, present conceptual models of carbon dynamics and fire regimes, and

    review how variation in fire regimes may affect overall storage potential as a function of fireinduced

    losses and post-fire uptake in two widespread Australian vegetation types. We then

    appraise future trends under global change and the likely potential for managing fire regimes

    for carbon 'benefits', especially with respect to emissions.

Authors


  •   Williams, Richard J. (external author)
  •   Bradstock, Ross A.
  •   Barrett, Damian J. (external author)
  •   Beringer, Jason (external author)
  •   Boer, Mathias M. (external author)
  •   Cary, Geoff J. (external author)
  •   Cook, Garry (external author)
  •   Gill, A Malcolm. (external author)
  •   Hutley, Lindsay B. (external author)
  •   Keith, Heather (external author)
  •   Maier, Stefan W. (external author)
  •   Meyer, C P (external author)
  •   Price, Owen F.
  •   Roxburgh, Stephen H. (external author)
  •   Russell-Smith, Jeremy (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Williams, R. J., Bradstock, R. A., Barrett, D., Beringer, J., Boer, M. M., Cary, G. J., Cook, G. D., Gill, A. Malcolm., Hutley, L. B., Keith, H., Maier, S. W., Meyer, C. (Mick)., Price, O., Roxburgh, S. H. & Russell-Smith, J. (2012). Fire regimes and carbon in Australian vegetation. In R. A. Bradstock, A. Malcolm. Gill & R. J. Williams (Eds.), Flammable Australia: Fire Regimes, Biodiversity and Ecosystems in a Changing World (pp. 273-291). Collingwood, Vic: CSIRO Publishing.

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9780643104822

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1514&context=smhpapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/smhpapers/502

Book Title


  • Flammable Australia: Fire Regimes, Biodiversity and Ecosystems in a Changing World

Start Page


  • 273

End Page


  • 291

Place Of Publication


  • Collingwood, Vic