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Why Australia’s severe bushfires may be bad news for tree regeneration


Blackened tree stems are all that remain in many post-fire images of eastern Victoria. The charred, often leafless trees are a testament to the severity of this season’s bushfires, which have had a devastating impact on the state’s biodiversity.

How the trees respond to the fires is crucial to environmental recovery since most of the burned ecosystems are forests, and trees are the backbone of forests.

Until recently, we could be confident that most of the trees in our forests would recover from most fires, but that confidence is wavering.

While it is too early to accurately quantify what has been burned in the latest fires, our preliminary analysis comparing maps of the fire boundaries against maps of vegetation classes indicates that a broad range of forest types and tree species have been affected. MORE

Header image: A range of tree species dominate the forests of East Gippsland. Credit: Benjamin Wagner/University of Melbourne.

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