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The role of fire on Phytophthora dieback caused by the root pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi in the Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia

Moore, N., Barrett, S., Bowen, B., Shearer, B. and Hardy, G. (2007) The role of fire on Phytophthora dieback caused by the root pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi in the Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia. In: 11th International Mediterranean Ecosystems (MEDECOS) Conference (2007), 2 - 5 September, Perth, Western Australia.

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    Abstract

    Introduction: The Stirling Range National Park (SRNP), Western Australia, is a place of international importance with regard to its extremely high degree of floral biodiversity and endemism. The introduced root pathogen Phytophthora cinnamorni is having a devastating impact on the native plant communities of the SRNP and is regarded as a biological disaster of global significance for the conservation of high biodiversity areas (Shearer et al. 2007). Inappropriate fire regimes have also driven species declines in some communities, Little is known of the effects of fire on root-rotting fungi such as Phytophthora spp. Fire has been proposed as a tool to control root disease pathogens in Australian ecosystems, having the potential to reduce susceptible hosts of P. cinnamomi (Robinson and Bougher 2003). Fires of high intensity may temporarily reduce fungal populations by causing a change in fungal microbial balance, but fire may have indirect effects on P. cinnamomi by changing environmental conditions (Podger and Brown 1989). This paper reports on the first major investigation of its kind in Western Australia into the interaction of fire and P. cinnamomi in plant communities in the SRNP. The aim of the study was to determine whether there were significant differences in species composition, abundance, richness and plant health in sites burnt more recently compared with paired longer unburnt sites where P. cinnamomi was present.

    Publication Type: Conference Item
    Murdoch Affiliation: Centre for Phytophthora Science and Management
    School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
    Notes: Extended abstract
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/7110
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