As fire seasons get longer and more intense, the impacts on the mountains that we love are already obvious. The forests get younger as wave after wave of fire kills the older trees and sometimes come so frequently they also kill off the new generations of seedlings.
Wildfire has devastated large swathes of snow gum habitat in the last few decades, with significant fires in the Victorian High Country in 1998, 2002/3, 2006/7 and 2013. Over 90% of the Victorian distribution of snow gums has been burned at least once since 2003. Each of the large fires of the last 15 years has overlapped to some extent, leaving thousands of hectares of snow gums burned by wildfire twice, and sometimes three times.
The take home message from research into snow gum forest is that if we want to have a hope of keeping remaining old forests, we need to exclude fire from them wherever possible.
I thought I would check out some forests that were burnt this summer. The news is a mix of good and bad.