Fire ecologists and wildlife specialists at La Trobe University have made key discoveries in how wildlife restores itself after bushfires, and what Australian conservationists can do to assist the process.
The study, published this week in Wildlife Research journal, looks at various reserves in Victoria after bushfires had taken place. It finds that the surrounding area of any fire dictates what species survived and went onto thrive.
Key findings of the study include:
- Invasive species such as Australian ravens, magpies and house mice were commonly found recolonising burnt areas surrounded by agriculture;
- Native species such as crested bellbirds, hopping mice and white-eared honeyeater were commonly found recolonising burnt areas surrounded by mallee vegetation; and
- Other native species such as Major Mitchell’s cockatoos, mallee ringnecks and white-winged choughs were commonly found recolonising burnt areas surrounded by a mix of mallee vegetation and sparse grassy woodland.
To minimise damage of large bushfires and to protect important species and vegetation, strategic burns create firebreaks – vital in slowing the spread of fire.
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