Size/age distribution and vegetative recovery of Eucalyptus niphophila (snowgum, Myrtaceae) one year after fire in Kosciuszko National Park
Size/age distribution and vegetative regeneration were examined for 50 Eucalyptus niphophila Maiden & Blakely trees in each of eight subalpine sites in Kosciuszko National Park 1 year after the January-February 2003 bushfires. Trees sampled were generally large and mature, with an average of 2.5 trunks, lignotuber diameter of 54 cm and largest trunk diameter of 18 cm, with a few larger trees at all sites. Converting the girth of largest trunk into rough age estimates by using an existing regression formula gave an approximate minimum (~29 years), maximum (~186 years), median (~58 years) and average age of ~64 years (error of ~15 years). For trees with trunks after fire, 96.5% had lost all existing leaves. Nearly all trees (95%) had shoots from the lignotuber, but only 4.25% of trees had also epicormic shoots on trunks and stems. Size/age were related to some but not all measures of regeneration. In the future, existing trunks could senesce, with nearly all regrowth from the lignotubers. This could result in a change from open woodlands with large/old trees with a few trunks to closed woodlands of lower-growing trees with a mallee form.
Australian Journal of Botany