Ross A. Bradstock

Ross A. Bradstock
University of Wollongong | UOW · Centre for Sustainable Ecosystem Solutions

About

219
Publications
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15,767
Citations
Citations since 2017
26 Research Items
8564 Citations
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201720182019202020212022202305001,0001,500
201720182019202020212022202305001,0001,500

Publications

Publications (219)
Article
Bushfire occurrences will likely be exacerbated by climate change, thus requiring a model to forecast and manage their impacts. However, a robust bushfire model requires new proxies that can infer fire severity responses to past climate variability. A key test to the viability of new fire proxies is whether they record fire severity in the affected...
Article
Disturbance history is known to affect fire risk by altering fuel dynamics, but the effects of disturbance on micro-meteorological conditions that influence fire are poorly understood. Logging and wildfire can significantly alter the height and density of vegetation in forests. These structural attributes can influence aspects of the sub-canopy mic...
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There is an imperative for fire agencies to quantify the potential for prescribed burning to mitigate risk to life, property and environmental values while facing changing climates. The 2019–2020 Black Summer fires in eastern Australia raised questions about the effectiveness of prescribed burning in mitigating risk under unprecedented fire conditi...
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The aims were: (1) to identify the environmental drivers of interannual variation in wildfire extent and severity; (2) to examine temporal trends in climatic potential for large and severe wildfires; and (3) to assess whether environmental conditions experienced during the 2019–2020 mega‐fire season were anomalous. South‐eastern Australia. 1953–202...
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Background: Wildfire is known to reduce forest carbon stocks, but the influence of antecedent disturbance on wildfire related carbon stock losses is not as well understood. Disturbances such as logging and wildfire may increase the vulnerability of remaining carbon stocks to subsequent wildfire. Conversely, these disturbances may reduce the impact...
Article
Context Logging and wildfire can reduce the height of the forest canopy and the distance to the understorey vegetation below. These conditions may increase the likelihood of high severity wildfire (canopy scorch or consumption), which may explain the greater prevalence of high severity wildfire in some recently logged or burnt forests. However, the...
Article
The cover image is based on the Invited Review Limits to post‐fire vegetation recovery under climate change by Rachael H. Nolan et al., https://doi.org/10.1111/pce.14176. The cover image is based on the Invited Review Limits to post‐fire vegetation recovery under climate change by Rachael H. Nolan et al., https://doi.org/10.1111/pce.14176.
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Fire management agencies around the world use suppression firing for fire control. Yet, we know little about the extent of its use (e.g., prevalence and spatial coverage) and its impact on containment. We examine the prevalence and practice of suppression firing in Victoria, Australia. We used operational data from five years (2010–2015) to identif...
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Record-breaking fire seasons in many regions across the globe raise important questions about plant community responses to shifting fire regimes (i.e., changing fire frequency, severity, and seasonality). Here, we examine the impacts of climate-driven shifts in fire regimes on vegetation communities, and likely responses to fire coinciding with sev...
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Wildfires continue to destroy houses, but an understanding of the complex mix of risk factors remains elusive. These factors comprise six themes: preparedness actions (including defensible space), response actions (including defence), house construction, landscape fuels, topography and weather. The themes span a range of spatial scales (house to re...
Article
Our recent article on the comparative effects of logging and wildfire on carbon stocks in forests with contrasting responses to fire (Wilson et al., 2021) elicited a commentary from Jurskis (2021). While speculating widely about the nature of forests in our study and their management, Jurskis (2021) attempts to cast doubt on our finding that loggin...
Article
Recent logging and wildfire have been linked to increased fire severity in forests around the world. The mechanisms driving this association are uncertain but increased vertical fuel connectivity in recently disturbed forests is often suggested as a possible cause. These suggestions often assume that the forest canopy is lost after logging and wild...
Article
Disturbance plays an important role in determining whether forests are carbon sinks or sources. Logging and wildfire are common widespread disturbances known to significantly reduce carbon stocks in carbon rich forests, such as, the tall forests of south-eastern Australia. Most tall forests in south-eastern Australia are dominated by globally uniqu...
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ContextFire behaviour research has largely focused on dry ecosystems that burn frequently, with far less attention on wetter forests. Yet, the impacts of fire in wet forests can be high and therefore understanding the drivers of fire in these systems is vital.Objectives We sought to identify and rank by importance the factors plausibly driving flam...
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Comprehensive fire surveillance will strengthen resilience and adaptation to climate change. Comprehensive fire surveillance will strengthen resilience and adaptation to climate change.
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Variations in global patterns of burning and fire regimes are relatively well measured, however, the degree of influence of the complex suite of biophysical and human drivers of fire remains controversial and incompletely understood. Such an understanding is required in order to support current fire management and to predict the future trajectory o...
Article
Fire agencies are moving towards planning systems based on risk assessment; however, knowledge of the most effective way to quantify changes in risk to key values by application of prescribed fire is generally lacking. We present a quantification and inter-regional comparison of how risk to management values responds to variations in prescribed bur...
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An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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Globe-LFMC is an extensive global database of live fuel moisture content (LFMC) measured from 1,383 sampling sites in 11 countries: Argentina, Australia, China, France, Italy, Senegal, Spain, South Africa, Tunisia, United Kingdom and the United States of America. The database contains 161,717 individual records based on in situ destructive samples...
Article
Revegetating cleared land with native trees and shrubs is increasingly used as a means of addressing loss of biodiversity, degraded soil and water resources and sequestration of carbon. However, revegetation also brings a potential to alter fire risk due to changing fuel types across the landscape. Previous research has found that increasing the ar...
Article
Sequestration of carbon in forest ecosystems has been identified as an effective strategy to help mitigate the effects of global climate change. Prescribed burning and timber harvesting are two common, co-occurring, forest management practices that may alter forest carbon pools. Prescribed burning for forest management, such as wildfire risk reduct...
Article
Knowledge of global C cycle implications from changes to fire regime and climate are of growing importance. Studies on the role of the fire regime in combination with climate change on soil C pools are lacking. We used Bayesian modelling to estimate the soil % total C (% CTot) and % recalcitrant pyrogenic C (% RPC) from field samples collected usin...
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The impact of fire on global C cycles is considerable but complex. Nevertheless, studies on patterns of soil C accumulation following fires of differing intensity over time are lacking. Our study utilised 15 locations last burnt by prescribed fire (inferred low intensity) and 18 locations last burnt by wildfire (inferred high intensity), with time...
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ContextWildland fire intensity influences natural communities, soil properties, erosion, and sequestered carbon. Measuring effectiveness of fuel treatment for reducing area of higher intensity unplanned fire is argued to be more meaningful than determining effect on total unplanned area burned. Objectives To contrast the relative importance of fuel...
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The revegetation of cleared landscapes with woody plants (termed “environmental planting”) has the potential to sequester carbon (C), provide habitat, and increase biodiversity and connectivity. These environmental values are potentially offset by an increased fire hazard posed by revegetation. There is a need to understand the influence environmen...
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The influence of plant traits on forest fire behaviour has evolutionary, ecological and management implications, but is poorly understood and frequently discounted. We use a process model to quantify that influence and provide validation in a diverse range of eucalypt forests burnt under varying conditions. Measured height of consumption was compar...
Data
Sub-models used in the FFM for this study. (PDF)
Data
Species leaf traits used in the FFM for this study. (PDF)
Data
Plant and flame traits, and resultant heating as shown in S2 Fig. (PDF)
Data
Observed and predicted flame heights. (PDF)
Article
Wildfires are complex adaptive systems, and have been hypothesized to exhibit scale-dependent transitions in the drivers of fire spread. Among other things, this makes the prediction of final fire size from conditions at the ignition difficult. We test this hypothesis by conducting a multi-scale statistical modelling of the factors determining whet...
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The composition of plant communities may be driven by responses of key plant resilience traits (resprouting R+, non-resprouting R−, persistent P+ and transient P− seedbanks) to either resource competition or disturbance regimes. We explored responses of overall species richness and the richness of herbs and shrubs within the three most common funct...
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Most studies of climate change effects on fire regimes assume a gradual reorganization of pyrogeographic patterns and have not considered the potential for transformational changes in the climate-vegetation-fire relationships underlying continental-scale fire regimes. Here, we model current fire activity levels in Australia as a function of mean an...
Article
In this special issue of Plant Ecology celebrating the research contributions of the late Peter J. Clarke, we review advances in understanding of interactions between fire and vegetation, and the role of these interactions in shaping the evolution of plant species. The research presented here reviews the measurement of fire severity and plant respo...
Article
The occurrence of large, high-intensity wildfires requires plant biomass, or fuel, that is sufficiently dry to burn. This poses the question, what is "sufficiently dry"? Until recently, the ability to address this question has been constrained by the spatiotemporal scale of available methods to monitor the moisture contents of both dead and live fu...
Article
Spatially explicit predictions of fuel moisture content are crucial for quantifying fire danger indices and as inputs to fire behaviour models. Remotely sensed predictions of fuel moisture have typically focused on live fuels; but regional estimates of dead fuel moisture have been less common. Here we develop and test the spatial application of a r...
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Environmental conditions may influence the presence and strength of competitive interactions between different life forms, thereby shaping community composition and structure, and corresponding fuel dynamics. Woodland and shrubland communities of the Mediterranean climate region of South Eastern Australia contain a varied mixture of herbaceous and...
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Bushfire survival plans are a valuable tool for residents living in fire-prone landscapes. Plans include assigning trigger points for action, roles for all household members, and alternate approaches should the original plan fail. Fire agencies advocate that residents write, practise and discuss these plans before the fire season. In this study we...
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In this millennium, global drylands face a myriad of problems that present tough research, management, and policy challenges. Recent advances in dryland development, however, together with the integrative approaches of global change and sustainability science, suggest that concerns about land degradation, poverty, safeguarding biodiversity, and pro...
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AimPrescribed fire is a common land management for reducing risks from unplanned fires. However, the universality of such effectiveness remains uncertain due to biogeographical variation in fuel types, climatic influences and fire regimes. Here, we explore biogeographical patterns in the effectiveness of prescribed fire by calculating leverage (the...
Article
Management strategies to reduce the risks to human life and property from wildfire commonly involve burning native vegetation. However, planned burning can conflict with other societal objectives such as human health and biodiversity conservation. These conflicts are likely to intensify as fire regimes change under future climates and as growing hu...
Article
AimWe investigated how the probability of burning is influenced by the time since fire (TSF) and gradients of climate, soil and vegetation in the fire-prone mediterranean-climate mallee woodlands of south-eastern Australia. This provided insight into the processes controlling contemporary fuel dynamics and fire regimes across biogeographical bounda...
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A shrubland fire behaviour dataset was assembled using data from experimental studies in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and South Africa. The dataset covers a wide range of heathlands and shrubland species associations and vegetation structures. Three models for rate of spread are developed using 2-m wind speed, a wind reduction factor, elevated de...
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Projected effects of climate change across many ecosystems globally include more frequent disturbance by fire and reduced plant growth due to warmer (and especially drier) conditions. Such changes affect species - particularly fire-intolerant woody plants - by simultaneously reducing recruitment, growth, and survival. Collectively, these mechanisms...
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The objective of this study was to estimate the recovery trajectory of evapotranspiration (Et) and streamflow (Q) in resprouting forested catchments following wildfire. Recovery dynamics were assessed in mixed species eucalypt forests in south-eastern Australia which recover from disturbance largely via vegetative resprouting, and to a lesser degre...
Article
The moisture content of vegetation and litter (fuel moisture) is an important determinant of fire risk, and predictions of dead fine fuel moisture content (fuel with a diameter <25.4 mm) are particularly important. A variety of indices, as well as empirical and mechanistic models, have been proposed to predict fuel moisture, but these approaches ha...
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Postfire resprouting and recruitment from seed are key plant life-history traits that influence population dynamics, community composition and ecosystem function. Species can have one or both of these mechanisms. They confer resilience, which may determine community composition through differential species persistence after fire. To predict ecosyst...
Article
The increasing frequency of large, high-severity fires threatens the survival of old-growth specialist fauna in fire-prone forests. Within topographically diverse montane forests, areas which experience less severe or fewer fires compared with those prevailing in the landscape may present unique resource opportunities enabling old-growth specialist...
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Ecologically sustainable forest management aims to maintain biodiversity values within managed forest ecosystems. A key habitat component within Australian forest ecosystems are hollow-bearing trees which are crucially important for fauna species requiring tree hollows for diurnal shelter and nesting. The effect of disturbance regimes, in particula...
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We present a method and case study to predict and map the likelihood of wildfires spreading to the urban interface through statistical analysis of past fire patterns using 15000 lines from 677 fires with known ignition points and date and random potential end points on the urban interface of Sydney, Australia. A binomial regression approach was use...
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Remote sensing observations provide useful spatially explicit and temporally dense information for monitoring post-fire vegetation recovery patterns over large areas. Although large fires are common in Australian eucalypt forests, research on remote sensing of post-fire vegetation recovery in this ecosystem has been limited. In this study, time ser...
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The impacts of escalating wildfire in many regions — the lives and homes lost, the expense of suppression and the damage to ecosystem services — necessitate a more sustainable coexistence with wildfire. Climate change and continued development on fire-prone landscapes will only compound current problems. Emerging strategies for managing ecosystems...
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Wildfires can pose a significant risk to people and property. Billions of dollars are spent investing in fire management actions in an attempt to reduce the risk of loss. One of the key areas where money is spent is through fuel treatment - either fuel reduction (prescribed fire) or fuel removal (fuel breaks). Individual treatments can influence fi...
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Forests which recover from disturbance predominately via vegetative resprouting may be expected to have different catchment water balance dynamics following wildfire than forests recovering from seed. However, the impacts of wildfire on forest water use are largely unknown in resprouting forest types. This is despite their dominance across the majo...
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Fire activity has been found to follow a humped relationship with population density, but the countervailing drivers and scale effects in this relationship have not previously been teased apart. This is important because it helps us to understand which aspects of fire risk are amenable to management. The likelihood of a fire occurring at the Wildla...
Article
Attiwill et al (2013) discussed effects of timber harvesting on the patterns of severity of recent, major fires in south eastern Australian. They concluded that the probability of crown fire partially increased with fuel age in Ash forests, supposedly contrary to results of our recent analyses (Price & Bradstock 2012). In doing so, Attiwill et al (...
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The management of forest ecosystems to increase carbon storage is a global concern. Fire frequency has the potential to shift considerably in the future. These shifts may alter demographic processes and growth of tree species, and consequently carbon storage in forests. Examination of the sensitivity of forest carbon to the potential upper and lowe...
Article
QuestionsDo endogenous (landscape/vegetation) or exogenous (weather) factors control fire severity? During severe fire weather, is there convergence in fire severity across rain forest, forests and heathlands such that all locations burn with similarly high severity? Are there long-term effects of fire severity in temperate crown-fire ecosystems? L...
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Following disturbance many woody species are capable of resprouting new foliage, resulting in a reduced leaf-to-sapwood area ratio and altered canopy structure. We hypothesized that such changes would promote adjustments in leaf physiology, resulting in higher rates of transpiration per unit leaf area, consistent with the mechanistic framework prop...
Article
An understanding of the effects of climate on fuel is required to predict future changes to fire. We explored the climatic determinants of variations in surface fine fuel parameters across forests (dry and wet sclerophyll plus rainforest) and grassy woodlands of south-eastern Australia. Influences of vegetation type and climate on fuel were examine...
Article
Herbaceous and woody plants represent different fuel types in flammable ecosystems, due to contrasting patterns of growth and flammability in response to productivity (moisture availability). However, other factors, such as soil type, fire regimes and competitive interactions may also influence the relative composition of herbaceous and woody plant...
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The environmental, economic and social impacts of wildfires depend on spatial patterns of fire severity. An understanding as to how drivers of fire severity vary across broad vegetation communities exists. However, examination of variation within communities in response to gradients of moisture has received little attention so far. This study exami...