The impacts of prescribed burning on the diversity of fungi and vascular plants in a heathy woodland

Johnston, Mitchell 2021, The impacts of prescribed burning on the diversity of fungi and vascular plants in a heathy woodland, B. Science (Hons) thesis, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University.

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Title The impacts of prescribed burning on the diversity of fungi and vascular plants in a heathy woodland
Author Johnston, Mitchell
Institution Deakin University
School School of Life and Environmental Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment
Degree type Honours
Degree name B. Science (Hons)
Thesis advisor Tricia WevillORCID iD for Tricia Wevill
Date submitted 2021
Keyword(s) prescribed burning
Summary As climate change continues to increase the threat of bushfire across south-eastern Australia, prescribed burning has become an important tool used to reduce fuel loads while protecting societal, economic and environmental values. Although there is adequate knowledge on the negative effects of single occurrence high intensity bushfires to fungal and vascular plant communities, little is known about the response of these communities to the highly frequent low intensity burn regimes used in prescribed burnings. This study has used a combination of fungal metabarcoding and plant surveys to evaluate the effects of varying prescribed burn frequencies on the diversity of fungi and vascular plants within the Anglesea Heathy Woodlands. The soil fungal community showed resilience to the varying fire frequencies used, suggesting that this ecosystem may be dominated by a range of pyrophilous fungi. This conclusion is made with caution as limitations in reference libraries hindered this studies ability to resolve taxonomic resolution of a large proportion of OTU’s.

Meanwhile, vegetation surveys indicated that prescribed burn frequency has an influence on community composition, as the aboveground vegetation is directly consumed during these burns. As prescribed burning has only proceeded within the past 10 years in this region, reassessments of both fungal and vascular plant communities will be needed in the coming decades to gain more reliable insights and direct management.
Language eng
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 3205 Medical biochemistry and metabolomics
Description of original 59 p.
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