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 ensemble and a probabilistic fire regime simulator to predict future fire regimes.
Our species of interest was alpine ash (Eucalyptus delegatensis). This species is an obligate seeder (it is typically killed by fire and recruits from seed). Between fires they need time for the new individuals to reach maturity and produce seed, ready for the next fire.
- Provide spatially explicit predictions of future fire risk to alpine ash using a probabilistic landscape-scale fire regime simulator and alternate climate scenarios.
- Identify those alpine ash patch and landscape features associated with the greatest risks of changing fire regimes.
We used multiple climate models and a fire regime simulator to predict future fire regimes in alpine ash dominated landscapes. We examined the potential for the fire regime to shift, and the impacts on immaturity risk (where species don’t reach maturity before the next fire)
We predict that the fire regime (the long term pattern of fires) will change with increases in both wildfire extent (total area burnt, area burnt at high intensity) and frequency. This increases the risk of short-interval fires (not enough time between fires for this species).
We also found that the risk of short-interval fires was not uniform across the landscape. The greatest risks were to those patches of alpine ash located on the periphery of the current distribution, closer to roads or surrounded by a drier landscape at lower elevations.