Environmental assessment of erosion following prescribed burning in the Mount Lofty Ranges, Australia

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Ecology and Biodiversity
Fuel Management
TitleEnvironmental assessment of erosion following prescribed burning in the Mount Lofty Ranges, Australia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsMorris, R, Bradstock, RA, Dragovich, D, Henderson, MK, Penman, TD, Ostendorf, B
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Date Published10/2013
Keywordsbioturbation, erosion assessment, fire severity, rainfall, sediment movement, slope, topography
AbstractErosion following fire has the potential to affect water quality, alter soil profiles and detrimentally affect human infrastructure. There is a clear need for environmental assessments to have regard for erosion concerns from prescribed burning. This study focussed on 10 prescribed burns conducted in the Southern Mount Lofty Ranges. Generalised additive modelling was used to determine the main significant environmental variables influencing the presence of sediment movement at 505 field-assessed sites. Sediment movement after the 10 prescribed burns was minor. Fire severity was a highly significant environmental determinant for the presence of sediment movement after prescribed burning. To predict erosion concerns, a suite of environmental variables is more reliable than focusing solely on slope steepness, as occurred before this study. These results indicate that erosion assessments need to consider a range of environmental variables to assess potential erosion and that land managers and scientists need to incorporate spatial sampling designs into erosion assessments.