Grasslands and grassy woodlands are widespread across southern Australia, occurring in the transitional zone between forests in higher rainfall areas and the shrublands and hummock grasslands of the drier interior. The conservation status of grassy ecosystems in southern Australia varies from relictual fragments in intensively-used agricultural regions to well-conserved, intact ecosystems in the Australian alps. In this chapter, we briefly describe the distribution of grasslands and grassy woodlands in southern Australia, and then review three major ways in which fire regimes can affect the distribution, structure, dynamics and composition of these ecosystems. We ask three questions that have received considerable attention globally ' to what extents do fire regimes in grassy ecosystems in southern Australia influence: (1) boundaries between treeless grasslands and timbered woodlands; (2) the cover or abundance of woody plants within grassy woodlands; and (3) the productivity, structure, function and diversity of ground vegetation in grasslands and grassy woodlands?
|Title of host publication||Flammable Australia|
|Subtitle of host publication||Fire regimes, biodiversity and ecosystems in a changing world|
|Editors||Ross A. Bradstock, A. Malcom Gill, Richard J. Williams|
|Place of Publication||Collingwood Australia|
|Number of pages||18|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|
Lunt, I., Prober, S., & Morgan, J. W. (2012). How do fire regimes affect ecosystem structure, function and diversity in grasslands and grassy woodlands of southern Australia? In R. A. Bradstock, A. M. Gill, & R. J. Williams (Eds.), Flammable Australia: Fire regimes, biodiversity and ecosystems in a changing world (1 ed., pp. 253-270). CSIRO Publishing.