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Local environmental covariates are important for predicting fire history from tree stem diameters

journal contribution
posted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by J Lazzari, H J Yoon, D A Keith, Don DriscollDon Driscoll
.In fire-prone landscapes, knowing when vegetation was last burnt is important for understanding how species respond to fire and to develop effective fire management strategies. However, fire history is often incomplete or non-existent. We developed a fire-age prediction model for two mallee woodland tree species in southern Australia. The models were based on stem diameters from ∼1172 individuals surveyed along 87 transects. Time since fire accounted for the greatest proportion of the explained variation in stem diameter for our two mallee tree species but variation in mean stem diameters was also influenced by local environmental factors. We illustrate a simple tool that enables time since fire to be predicted based on stem diameter and local covariates. We tested our model against new data but it performed poorly with respect to the mapped fire history. A combination of different covariate effects, variation in among-tree competition, including above- and below-ground competition, and unreliable fire history may have contributed to poor model performance. Understanding how the influence of covariates on stem diameter growth varies spatially is critical for determining the generality of models that predict time since fire. Models that were developed in one region may need to be independently verified before they can be reliably applied in new regions.



International journal of wildland fire






871 - 882


CSIRO Publishing


Clayton, VIC





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, CSIRO Publishing