Vulnerability

Summit of Mount Torbreck (1175 m)

Installation of weather station on Mount Strickland

Mount Strickland (1079 m) following the 2009 wildfire

Hemispherical photo of Ash forest killed following the 2009 wildfire at Mount Strickland

Forest vulnerability refers to the susceptibility of forest landscapes to natural or human disturbance, while forest resilience is the capacity of forest landscapes to absorb disturbance and still retain basic functions and structure. The balance between forest vulnerability and resilience, and associated tipping points are important determinants of the capacity of forest landscapes to provide ecosystem services now and in the future.

Key emerging risks to Victoria’s forest ecosystems are potential changes in fire regimes and climate change (through, for example, changes in forest productivity, changes in forest regeneration, increased drought stress, changes in fire frequency). There is a need for improved understanding of interactions between fire, climate change and forest management which may have significant impacts on the distribution of forest species and ecosystem composition and structure.

The iFER Landscape Vulnerability project: (1) Investigates the interactions between forest ecosystems and the environment (2) Identifies tipping points that may result in irreversible change in forest structure and composition and the associated ecosystem services they provide; (3) Provides information relevant to adaptive forest management that allows land managers to analyse the potential effects of fire, climate variability/change and forest management on the resilience of Victoria’s public forests; (4) Enhances management of forest landscapes to maintain and enhance multiple values.

Please contact Craig Nitschke or Sabine Kasel for more information or to enquire about collaborative research opportunities.

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