Extent of rainforest bushfire damage revealed by University of Tasmania

Miena burned

Analysis from the University of Tasmania’s Fire Centre has found only 3 per cent of the destruction from the 2019 bushfires was in areas of rainforest.

Unlike much of Australia’s native landscape, rainforest is not adapted to fire. The slow-growing trees, ferns, mosses and other flora, which evolved before fire-resistant eucalypts, suffer long-term, potentially permanent damage from bushfires.

The damage to rainforest this year constituted about 6150 hectares, out of about 205,000 hectares burned.

“Based on our analysis, rainforest types that are known to be particularly vulnerable to fire [King Billy Pine, Pencil Pine] have largely escaped the fires to date [two hectares burned] but this will need to be confirmed with on-ground reconnaissance,” the report, compiled by Dr Sam Wood, said.

About 97 per cent of the fire-damaged areas covered vegetation types expected to recover quickly, including sedgeland and buttongrass moorland in the Gell River, Southwest, and West Coast fires, wet eucalypt in the Riveaux-Pedder fires, and dry eucalypt in the Central Plateau fires.

Dr Wood analysis was based on comparing vegetation maps and the mapped perimeters of the major fires, provided by the TFS.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has committed to fast-tracking disaster recovery requests from the state government.

In question time on February 13, he said he had appointed an emergency recovery liaison officer to work with the state in determining the extent of the need for federal funding, and said he had “spoken directly” with Premier Will Hodgman about federal support for the recovery of the tourism operators.

“Our government stands ready to assist Tasmania with any assistance that may be required,” Mr Morrison said.

And Emergency Services Minister Michael Ferguson said the state government will hold thank you functions for firefighters, as well as allowing them to accept donations of beer from the community.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s