Dr Lynda Prior will present ‘Using tree growth to understand landscape change in Kakadu National Park’, on Friday 6 October from 1pm to 2pm.
There are reports of increasing cover of woody vegetation in savannas around the world, including Australia. Possible causes are changes in fire and grazing regimes, climate change and increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations. However, it is difficult to disentangle these factors, which are often correlated and interacting.
We need to understand the underlying mechanisms—tree growth, recruitment and survival. There is a paucity of published information on tree growth rates in savannas and how they are affected by factors such as fire, grazing and temporal variation in rainfall.
As part of an ARC Discovery project, Lynda’s team analysed results of two longitudinal datasets that recorded growth of savanna trees in Kakadu National Park in response to buffalo removal and four experimental fire regimes.
The results showed that the response of tree growth rates to fire are complex and vary according to tree size class. The current management paradigm of frequent, early dry season fires, while favouring the growth of large trees, severely reduces that of juveniles.
Lynda Prior graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, and worked for 13 years in research on salinity and irrigation in citrus and grapevines. Having acquired a taste for trees, she moved to Darwin to complete a PhD on the comparative ecophysiology of deciduous and evergreen trees in the Australian seasonal tropics. She joined the Wildlife and Landscape Science group with David Bowman in 2003. Since then she has continued to work with savanna trees, but scaled up from leaves to landscapes.
This seminar takes place in Room 1, Building 22, Casuarina Campus, Charles Darwin University.
Visit the School for Environmental Research website for more information about this and other SER seminars.