On the ecology of Australia’s arid zone: ‘Fire regimes and ecology of arid Australia’
Place of Publication
School of Science/ Centre for Ecosystem Management
Although fire is a widespread phenomenon and major ecosystem disturbance at the global scale, fire is a relatively rare event in much of the arid lands as rainfall and productivity are generally too low to support the dense vegetation and continuous fuel needed to sustain fires (Pausas and Bradstock 2007; Pausas and Ribeiro 2013). There are exceptions to this, such as landscapes dominated by xerophytic perennial grasses, where infrequent periods with above-average rainfall can result in exceptional grass and herb growth or where invasive species, particularly alien grasses, enhance fuel loads (Greenville et al. 2009; Keeley et al. 2012; Balch et al. 2013). Changes in land management (e.g. reduction in grazing, land abandonment), climate change and increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations have also been linked to increased fire activity in arid zones across the globe (Bond and Midgley 2012; Pausas and Fernández-Muñoz 2012; Bachelet et al. 2016).