A landscape approach to understanding wetlands and fire

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


    Wetlands experience and cope with fire in different ways. Biophysical factors that influence the severity and extent of burning in wetlands include their position in the landscape, antecedent conditions (e.g. wet/dry), water source/s, geomorphic processes (e.g. erosion/sedimentation), vegetation types, and fuel loads. The former four factors usually contribute to the latter two factors, which, altogether, prime wetlands for future fire events. Examples from upland swamps in the Blue Mountains of NSW demonstrate the uneven distribution of fire impacts on wetlands after the severe and widespread bushfires of 2019/20. Some upland swamps burned completely and severely, others burned partly and mildly, while others did not burn at all. Floodplain wetlands such as the Macquarie Marshes in inland regions rarely burn completely and have patchy burn patterns at hotspots of fuel loading related to channel and inundation patterns. Isolated wetlands such as Dunphy Lake in the Warrumbungles burn occasionally but may be more resilient to fire impacts due their ephemeral inundation regimes, and inbuilt capacity to cope with extreme drought conditions. Management of wetlands for fire impacts could consider the landscape controls that characterise these systems, as well as their fire history, natural range of variability, propensity for change, and inherent resilience (or lack thereof) to extreme events. Ultimately, a landscape approach to understanding wetlands and their fire regimes can benefit both the assessment and management of fire impacts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusSubmitted - 2021
    EventFire and Wetlands Forum - Online
    Duration: 8 Sep 20219 Sep 2021


    OtherFire and Wetlands Forum


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