Ecosystem Interactions

Our work aims to understand how fire regimes affect plants, animals and ecosystem function and in-turn how ecological processes such as post-fire vegetation growth interact to influence fire behaviour and risk.

Understanding the relationship between fire and biota is essential for biodiversity conservation

Fire is an important ecological process across many parts of the world, shaping the distribution of biomes and biodiversity. Fire regimes are changing however, and wildfires are occurring in the context of evolutionarily novel conditions for many species in the Anthropocene. Furthermore, fires occur in heterogeneous landscapes and complex feedbacks between fire regimes and vegetation can alter the trajectory of ecological recovery and future fire risk. Understanding relationships between fire regimes and the biota is essential for biodiversity conservation in a changing world.

Partnering with land management agencies allows us to understand how fire impacts plants, animals and ecosystem functions

Our research focuses on understanding how aspects of fire regimes such as intensity, frequency, season and heterogeneity affect plants, animals and ecosystem function. We partner with land management agencies to solve applied problems across a variety of different ecosystems and contexts.

Ecosystem interaction research themes are wide ranging

Our research themes include:

  • How fire regimes influence plant diversity and ecosystem function
  • Interrelationships between fire regimes, habitat structure and animal populations
  • The utility of plant and animal traits for predicting fire responses
  • Feedback between plant species composition, vegetation structure and fire risk
  • The role of fire in driving species distributions
  • Interactions between fire and other factors such as climatic variation, topography, land use change and competition among species
  • Risks from changing fire regimes to vulnerable ecosystems such as obligate seeder forests
  • Management tools for quantifying ecosystem resilience

Projects we are currently working on in this field

Future fire regimes increase risks to obligate-seeder forests

Many species are adapted to a particular fire regime and major deviations from that regime may lead to localised extinction. Here, we quantify immaturity risks to an obligate-seeder forest tree using an objectively designed climate model ...

Reducing landscape fire risk with green fire breaks

Currently in Australia the biodiversity crisis and wildfire risks are in direct opposition to one another. Increased wildfire risks under climate change place pressures on sectors and organisations attempting to revegetate the landscape and ...

Other Capabilities

Fire Behaviour

Fire behaviour research considers the mechanisms of fire spread across the landscape. Uncovering the physics behind it through innovative and novel approaches helps us develop and improve predictive models of fire behaviour.

Landscape Flammability

Environmental and human factors can strongly influence fire behaviour by changing the vegetation. Understanding the role of these influencing factors and the contribution of vegetation itself to fire behaviour is vital to better estimate landscape flammability.

Fire Risk Modelling

Fire risk modelling provides robust calculations of risk at local and landscape scales. This helps to guide decision-making and management for assets including people, property, economic, environmental, cultural and infrastructure.

Calling for PhD Candidates…