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How the severe fires of 2019-2020 promoted regeneration of the rare Bendethera shrublands

The Bendethera Shrublands are a unique and fascinating ecological community restricted to less than 100 hectares on a series of steep limestone outcrops in the Deua River valley. The community is characterised by a dense shrub layer to around 7.5 metres height and dominated by ‘Acacia covenyi’, a locally endemic species, whose blue foliage forms a striking contrast with adjacent ‘Eucalyptus’ forests (Figure 1a). Scattered eucalypts and kurrajongs emerge above the shrub thicket in places, the latter, according to conventional wisdom, indicating the location of dolines (a shallow, funnel-shaped depression of the ground surface, typically found in karst/limestone regions) in the underlying bedrock. The shrublands were located within the epicentre of some of the most severely burnt areas of the south coast. The fires were preceded by prolonged drought and followed by intense rainfall. We evaluated the impacts of these factors when we returned to our established monitoring sites in November 2020.

Tozer M.G., Ooi M.K.J., Simpson C., Wilkins K., Zylstra P. (2021) How the severe fires of 2019-20 promoted regeneration of the rare Bendethera shrublands. Australasian Plant Conservation 29(4), 12-15.