Fire has always been a part of life here in Australia (well, at least for the last 60 million years). And as a result much of our vegetation is fire reliant or fire adapted. But climate change is changing fire seasons, making them longer and more intense. And this is having a terrible impact on many fire sensitive vegetation communities. The Alpine Ash is one of these.
After a series of fires in the early 21st century, the Victorian government had to intervene to ensure the survival of Alpine Ash communities through a ‘forest recovery program’ (source). Since 2002, more than 85% of the Alps bioregion has been burnt by several very large fires. Alpine Ash require around 20 years between intense fires in order for regrowth to be able to produce seed (source), and more frequent blazes are threatening the viability of this vegetation community across the Alps.
This restoration initiative has been an effective program which sources seed and then aerial sows areas which have been devasted by wildfire.
However, the program is being stretched by more regular fires and a review of the 2019/20 fires found that it doesn’t have enough seed stock to deal with bad fire seasons.
Now, Greening Australia and Minderoo Foundation have joined together to find ‘super seeds’ from the Alpine Ash which are suited to a changing climate.
Continue reading “Can ‘super seeds’ reduce the risk of local extinction of Alpine Ash?”