Fire is a fundamental component of forests across much of Australia. In temperate southeastern Australia, bushfires may consume millions of hectares of forest in years of extreme climatic conditions. Despite the impact of bushfires, very little is known about the historical frequency of bush fires and how changes in land-use practices over the past two centuries may have altered them. The aim of this project was to reconstruct a landscape-scale fire history of high-elevation sites dominated by snow gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora) at Tallaganda NP southeast of Queanbeyan. Snow gum are known to form clear and crossdatable annual growth rings and have been used previously to study fire history in the Brindabella Ranges east of Canberra (Banks 1982). Research by Davies and Baker demonstrated the potential (and challenges) of fire-history reconstruction with snow gum. Establishment years of snow gum and dated fire scars were used to reconstruct the fire history of eight sites at Tallaganda. The sites differed in the timing and frequency of fire and showed little correlation with a variety of climate indices related to fire conditions.
Support for this project was provided by the NSW Department of the Environment and Conservation.