NERP TE Project 7.1 Fire and rainforests (CSIRO)

Little is known about the impacts of fire on rainforest vegetation or the animals which depend on it. This project will investigate the positive and negative impacts of fire on rainforest vegetation and wildlife. In collaboration with NPRSR rangers, and where possible with local NGOs and Indigenous Rangers, we propose to establish vegetation and faunal monitoring sites across the rainforest/woodland boundaries and associated vegetation types in key areas of the Mission Beach, Tully lowlands and Hinchinbrook Channel areas to assess faunal and floral status and trends. This project will produce maps and assess the impact of fire in of areas of greatest concern, including littoral rainforest and coastal vine thickets and riparian forest. We will assess the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Yasi on mahogany glider habitat, levels of rainforest invasion, and impacts of fire on new vegetation.

Fire management protocols in the Wet Tropics rainforests are based on inference and personal experience but limited experimental data. As some fire-affected habitats become increasingly threatened by other processes this lack of hard data becomes critical. The information generated by this project will help in developing management strategies that consider the environmental impacts of fire on the rainforest in the Wet Tropics. Particularly, it will provide an evidence-base to underpin policy in relation to managing fire on the margins of rainforest.

Principal Investigator
Meltcalfe, Daniel, Dr Ecosystem Sciences, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Publications / Data