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Sustainable Forest Management

Forest Growth Cycle

Forests are not static; they are in a constant state of change.  The type and age of a forest is the result of many different interacting factors including; temperature, frosts, rainfall, disturbance such as fire or windstorms, animal populations, soil condition and type and human management.

Tasmania's wet eucalypt forests are an interesting example of the ever changing nature of forests.

Wet eucalypt forests in Tasmania are fire dependent and are dominated by two eucalypt species, Eucalyptus Regnans and Eucalyptus Obliqua.  Depending on the time between fires, a wet eucalypt forest may become; a younger wet eucalypt forest, a rainforest or even a wattle patch or bracken fern glen.  These are radically different vegetation communities.  It is amazing to think that time between fires can make such a difference.

Dry forests tend to have a more stable community of overstorey trees which can survive less intense fires which occur in this forest type.  The biggest differences in dry forests are the understorey plants.  Some plants love fire and will thrive on sites that are fequently burnt, others prefer less fire.

Temperate rainforests are the most stable forest type.  In an established rainforest, little trees are constantly growing to fill the gaps where larger trees have fallen over and the conditions in the understorey are constant, as are many of the species or plants. However, if a wildfire burns through a rainforest, it will change into another forest type, most likely wet forest.

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