Mountain Journal has published a number of stories on the fires that devastated large areas of Tasmania’s high country in 2016. At the time we suggested that the ecological damage would be very long term because of the nature of the high elevation vegetation.
Sadly, that seems to be the case:
The following comes from a news report by the ABC.
A year on from bushfires in Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area (WHA), some areas are showing signs of recovery but others are not.
Ecologist Professor Jamie Kirkpatrick said once alpine flora such as pencil pines were burnt, they died.
“They haven’t got any seed stores, so there’s no seed in the soil and there’s very seldom seed in the trees themselves, so if you burn the stands you’ll often get rid of them for a very long time period,” he said.
“It’s those plants that actually make it a world heritage area because they’re really highly significant scientifically as paleo endemics from the cretaceous period.”
The fires wiped out plants more than 1,000 years old.
Researchers will travel to Lake Mackenzie next month to gather data about how the landscape is faring.