Cape York p enin su la Bior egion of



Yüklə 4,39 Mb.
Pdf görüntüsü
səhifə1/5
tarix02.09.2017
ölçüsü4,39 Mb.
  1   2   3   4   5

Cape 

York

 P

enin

su

la Bior

egion of

 Queen

sl

and:

 Ch


apt

er 5— M


el

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

Chapter 5: Melaleuca communities

This fire vegetation group includes all communities dominated by melaleuca. In 

the Cape York Peninsula bioregion most of these communities are periodically 

inundated. Drier sites have a grassy understory with occasional sparse shrubs 

such as xanthorrhoea and grevillea. Wetter sites support sedges, ferns, palms 

and pandanus in the understory. They are found across the bioregion. 

There are four broad sub-groupings of melaleuca communities on Cape York 

Peninsula with different fire requirements: 

1. Melaleuca woodlands (woodlands)

Woodlands can be dominated by one or a mix of melaleuca species with other 

canopy species also present. The understoreys may be dominated by grasses, 

shrubs, sedges, ferns or a mixture of plants. The ground-layer is often sparse. 

Woodlands can be found in wetter areas such as drainage depressions, marine 

plains and swamps. These can remain boggy for weeks or months. Low hills and 

rises dry more quickly but accumulate fuel very slowly. 

2. Melaleuca heath (heath)

Heaths have a low, dense structure dominated by a mix of species including: 



Melaleuca stenostachya, Melaleuca citrolens, Thryptomene oligandra, Cape 

York paperbark Melaleuca arcana and sometimes co-dominant broad-leaved 

paperbark Melaleuca viridiflora. There is usually no understorey or very sparse 

grasses. These heaths are found adjacent to wet areas such as on marine 

plains, stream edges or fringing fresh water lakes. They also occur on knolls 

and hills. Like other heaths, when melaleuca heath burns it often scorches 

completely with plants reshooting from the base.

3. Melaleuca gallery forest and lagoon margins (gallery forests)

Gallery forests are tall to very tall (up to 50m) and are located on the margins of 

swamps and lagoons on deep peat soils, on the levee banks of major streams 

or as part of a complex of flood channels and levee banks. Gallery forests are 

fire-sensitive. They sometimes have rainforest species present. 

4. Melaleuca swamps (swamps)

Swamps are low areas where water usually remains near or above the surface of 

the peat or gley soils. They are often dominated by swamp paperbark Melaleuca 

quinquenervia or weeping paperbark Melaleuca leucadendra. Other species 

may also dominate in some areas. Swamps may have shrubs or rainforest 

pockets present and sedges dominate the ground layer. Swamps can cover vast 

areas, in some cases up to a few hundred hectares.

55

DEPNP10061_bp2009_CAPE YORK PENINSULA PBG D5.indd   55



1/05/13   4:05 PM

Cape 

York

 P

enin

su

la Bior

egion of

 Queen

sl

and:

 Ch


apt

er 5— M


el

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

Fire management issues

The main issue for the drier woodlands and heaths is maintaining a Landscape 

Mosaic through broad-scale fire management (this limits the impacts of late 

season wildfires). In addition, heaths prefer a longer fire interval which is 

difficult to maintain if the surrounding landscape is not proactively burnt to limit 

extensive and regular late-season fire. 

Maintaining a Landscape Mosaic within fire-adapted vegetation adjacent to 

gallery forests and swamps will assist in mitigating impacts of fire. Avoid peat 

fires by burning when standing water is present or the peat is water logged. 



Issues:

1.  Maintain healthy melaleuca communities. 

2.  Avoid peat fires.

3.  Limit fire encroachment into non-target communities.



Extent within bioregion: 1 701 670 ha, 14 per cent; Regional ecosystems: Refer to Appendix 

1 for complete list.



Examples of this FVG: Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal 

Land), 180 812 ha; Crosbie Creek Station, 42 859 ha; Cape Melville National Park,  

39 843 ha; Mungkan Kandju National Park, 28 081 ha; Jack River National Park,  

26 989 ha; Strathmay Station, 24 647 ha; KULLA (McIlwraith Range) National Park (Cape 

York Peninsula Aboriginal Land), 20 579 ha; Lama Lama National Park (Cape York Peninsula 

Aboriginal Land), 11 283 ha; Mary Valley Station, 11 039 ha; Olive River Reserve, 8018 ha; 

Alwal National Park (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land), 7474 ha; Battle Camp Station, 

3767 ha; Jardine River National Park, 3572 ha; Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park 

(Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land), 3119 ha; Mount Jack Station Acquisition, 2420 ha; 

Heathlands Resources Reserve, 2254 ha; Orchid Creek (Under Negotiation With Aboriginal 

Land And NP), 2077 ha; Errk Oykangand National Park (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal 

Land), 830 ha; Annan River (Yuku Baja-Muliku) National Park, 204 ha.

56

DEPNP10061_bp2009_CAPE YORK PENINSULA PBG D5.indd   56



1/05/13   4:05 PM

Cape 

York

 P

enin

su

la Bior

egion of

 Queen

sl

and:

 Ch


apt

er 5— M


el

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

Is



sue 1: 

M

aint



ain he

alth


y mel

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

Issue 1: Maintain healthy melaleuca communities



Indicators of healthy melaleuca communities:

Woodlands 

•  Healthy melaleuca woodlands have grasses, sedges, or shrubs (or any mix 

of these) in the understorey. A few canopy trees of varying size should be 

present—enough to eventually replace the canopy. 

•  Grasses are upright and vigorous, with well-formed bases. Perennial grasses 

are more common than annuals. 

•  Some melaleuca woodlands on low rises and hill slopes have a naturally-

dense shrub layer. These can include species such as grevillea and  



Jacksonia spp. Grasses will be sparse here.

Heath

•  There is a variation in age-class of heath stands across the landscape. 



Gallery forests

•  Plants such as the cluster fig Ficus racemosa var. racemosa, Leichhardt tree 



Nauclea orientalis, ebony Diospyros sp., wild plum Terminalia platyphylla

strychnine bush Strychnos lucida or wattles are present in the canopy or 

shrub layer. 

•  There is an absence of blackened trunks.



Swamps

•  Sedges are upright and vigorous. Ferns are vigorous without a significant 

build-up of dead material.

57

DEPNP10061_bp2009_CAPE YORK PENINSULA PBG D5.indd   57



1/05/13   4:05 PM

Cape 

York

 P

enin

su

la Bior

egion of

 Queen

sl

and:

 Ch


apt

er 5— M


el

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

Is



sue 1: 

M

aint



ain he

alth


y mel

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

Gallery forests do not require fire. Maintaining a landscape mosaic in surrounding fire-



adapted communities will assist in protection from wildfire. 

Daryn Storch, QPWS, Lakefield National Park (2011).

Grasses in melaleuca 

woodlands should be 

upright and vigorous with 

well-formed bases.

Mark Newton, DSITIA, Main 

Edward River Road (2008).

58

DEPNP10061_bp2009_CAPE YORK PENINSULA PBG D5.indd   58



1/05/13   4:05 PM

Cape 

York

 P

enin

su

la Bior

egion of

 Queen

sl

and:

 Ch


apt

er 5— M


el

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

Is



sue 1: 

M

aint



ain he

alth


y mel

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

The canopy is quite sparse in scrub teatree Melaleuca citrolens woodlands. 



Mark Newton, DSITIA, Musgrave (2008).

The following may indicate that fire is required: 

Woodland 

•  Grasses or sedges collapsing or appearing matted with a build-up of dead 

material.

•  Xanthorrhoea spp. (where present) have brown skirts. 

•  Shrubs (where present) are starting to decline, the crowns or branches are 

dying and/or lower leaves are browning.



Swamps

•  Continuous fuel exists above the water level.

•  Sedges are collapsing or appear matted. They have a build-up of dead 

material. This can form above the water level.

•  Ferns are accumulating dead fronds.

•  Pandanus (where present) have a build-up of dead fronds. 



Heaths

•  Plants are beginning to lose their lower level leaves or some crowns are 

dying. 

•  Plants have some dead or dying branches.



59

DEPNP10061_bp2009_CAPE YORK PENINSULA PBG D5.indd   59

1/05/13   4:05 PM


Cape 

York

 P

enin

su

la Bior

egion of

 Queen

sl

and:

 Ch


apt

er 5— M


el

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

Is



sue 1: 

M

aint



ain he

alth


y mel

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

Melaleuca woodland on rises. 



Skirts of dead material on grass trees can indicate the need to apply fire.

Mark Newton, DSITIA, Upper Archer/Wenlock River (2003). 

Collapsing, matted sedges. 

Kerensa McCallie, QPWS, Conway National Park (2011).

60

DEPNP10061_bp2009_CAPE YORK PENINSULA PBG D5.indd   60



1/05/13   4:05 PM

Cape 

York

 P

enin

su

la Bior

egion of

 Queen

sl

and:

 Ch


apt

er 5— M


el

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

Is



sue 1: 

M

aint



ain he

alth


y mel

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

Discussion

•  A key strategy to manage the vast expanse of inaccessible melaleuca 

communities in Cape York Peninsula is broad-scale management through 

aerial ignition. Ideally this would include at least three different ignition 

periods on each property, each year. However, the ability to achieve this will 

depend on resourcing. Aim to achieve as many ignition periods as feasible.

•  Melaleuca communities with a peat layer are vulnerable to peat fires in 

the drier months. These areas should always be burnt with standing water 

present or when the peat layer is water logged (refer to Issue 2, for guidelines 

to avoid peat fire).

•  Melaleuca woodlands are quite resilient and do not change quickly. In 

addition, fires can be frequent and long-unburnt areas rare. In some wetter 

areas casuarinas and acacias may become frequent. 

•  The number of melaleuca species and of communities containing melaleuca 

on Cape York Peninsula is greater than anywhere else in Australia (Stanton 

1976) and their fire management requirements are variable.

•  Be aware that the 



papery bark of melaleuca is volatile, highly flammable 

and is often described as a ‘ladder fuel’ as it causes fire to rapidly ascend 

from the base to the top of the tree. Be aware of wind conditions and ember 

spotting.

•  Be aware that very tall (up to 50 m) gallery forests along levee banks of major 

streams occur (e.g. within Lakefield national Park), but are not described 

in the Regional Ecosystems database (Queensland Herbarium 2011a). Tall 

(

> 30 m), melaleuca woodlands on the margins of swamps and lagoons on 



deep peat soils are also not described in the Regional Ecosystems database 

(Queensland Herbarium 2011a).

•  Rubber vine occurs in gallery forest and can be managed with fire. Fire 

should only be applied after at least 30 mm of rain when the melaleuca bark 

is wet (refer to Chapter 10 [Issue 4], regarding fire management guidelines).

•  Grasses are generally considered ready to burn when they reach 50–60 per 

cent cured. The North Australian Grassland Fuel Guide (Johnson 2001) may 

assist in determining when grasses are ready to burn. However, caution 

should be used and local knowledge sought as some grass species which 

still appear too green to burn, will burn severely (and vice versa).

61

DEPNP10061_bp2009_CAPE YORK PENINSULA PBG D5.indd   61



1/05/13   4:05 PM

Cape 

York

 P

enin

su

la Bior

egion of

 Queen

sl

and:

 Ch


apt

er 5— M


el

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

Is



sue 1: 

M

aint



ain he

alth


y mel

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

The fire tolerance of ant plants Myrmecodia beccarii is unknown. Where this species is 



present, use a low flame height.

Paul Forster, Queensland Herbarium (2000).

62

DEPNP10061_bp2009_CAPE YORK PENINSULA PBG D5.indd   62



1/05/13   4:05 PM

Cape 

York

 P

enin

su

la Bior

egion of

 Queen

sl

and:

 Ch


apt

er 5— M


el

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

Is



sue 1: 

M

aint



ain he

alth


y mel

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

What is the priority for this issue?



Priority

Priority assessment

High

Planned burns to 



maintain ecosystems in areas where ecosystem 

health is good.

Assessing outcomes

Every proposed burn area contains natural variations in topography, 

understorey or vegetation type. It is recommended that you select at least three 

locations that will be good indicators for the whole burn area. At these locations 

walk around and if visibility is good look about and average the results. 

Estimations can be improved by returning to the same locations before and 

after fire, and by using counts where relevant.

Select at least two of the following as most appropriate for the site:



Measurable 

objectives

How to be assessed

How to be reported 

(in fire report)

Woodland: 

30–60 % of 

melaleuca 

woodland 

burnt within 

management 

area.

Using fire scar remote sensing data, 



estimate burnt and unburnt country on 

an annual basis. 



Achieved: 30–60 %. 

Partially Achieved: 

20–30 % or 60–80 %.



Not Achieved:  

< 20 % or > 80 %. 

Woodland: 

> 50 % of 

Pandanus 

skirts 


retained. 

Select one or more sites or walk one 

or more transects (taking into account 

the variability of landform and likely 

fire severity) and estimate number of 

Pandanus skirts remaining after fire.



Achieved:  

> 50 % retained.



Partially Achieved: 

25–50 % retained.



Not Achieved: 

< 25 % 

retained.

63

DEPNP10061_bp2009_CAPE YORK PENINSULA PBG D5.indd   63



1/05/13   4:05 PM

Cape 

York

 P

enin

su

la Bior

egion of

 Queen

sl

and:

 Ch


apt

er 5— M


el

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

Is



sue 1: 

M

aint



ain he

alth


y mel

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

Melaleuca 



swamps 

or gallery 

forests: The 

planned burn 

does not 

result in a 

peat fire.

Ongoing visual assessment during and 

post burn to determine if the fire has 

carried into peat layer and developed 

into a peat fire.

Achieved: Fire did not 

carry into peat layer 

and develop into a 

peat fire.



Not Achieved: Fire 

carried into peat layer 

and developed into a 

peat fire.



Gallery 

forest: No 

scorch of the 

margin of 

gallery forest. 



After the burn (immediately-very soon 

after): visual estimation of percentage 

of margins scorched – from one or 

more vantage points, or from the air.



Or

After the burn (immediately-very soon 

after): walk the margin of the pocket or 

representative sections (e.g. a 100m 

long section of the margin in three 

locations) and estimate the percentage 

of margin scorched.



Achieved: No scorch 

of the margin. 



Partially Achieved: 

< 10 % of margins 

scorched.



Not Achieved: 

> 10 % 


or margins scorched.

Heath: 

10–20 % 


of heath 

communities 

burnt within 

the Park in 

any one year.

Using fire scar remote sensing data, 

estimate burnt and unburnt country on 

an annual basis.



Achieved: 10–20 %. 

Partially Achieved: 

10 % or 20–30 %.



Not Achieved: 

> 30 %. 


If the above objectives are not suitable refer to the compendium of planned 

burn objectives found in the monitoring section of the QPWS Fire Management 

System, or consider formulating your own.

Monitoring the issue over time

Many issues are not resolved with a single planned burn and it is important 

to keep observing the land. To support this, it is recommended that 

observation points be established. Observation points are usually supported 

by photographs and by recording observations. Instructions for establishing 

observation points can be obtained from the monitoring section of the QPWS 

Fire Management System.

64

DEPNP10061_bp2009_CAPE YORK PENINSULA PBG D5.indd   64



1/05/13   4:05 PM

Cape 

York

 P

enin

su

la Bior

egion of

 Queen

sl

and:

 Ch


apt

er 5— M


el

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

Is



sue 1: 

M

aint



ain he

alth


y mel

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s

Woodland of Melaleuca saligna on floodplains. The naturally-sparse ground layer of this 



community means that fires are infrequent.

Mark Newton, DSITIA, 12 Mile Yards (2004).

Low-severity fire in melaleuca woodland.

Mark Newton, DSITIA, Stewart River Crossing (2008).

65

DEPNP10061_bp2009_CAPE YORK PENINSULA PBG D5.indd   65



1/05/13   4:05 PM

Cape 

York

 P

enin

su

la Bior

egion of

 Queen

sl

and:

 Ch


apt

er 5— M


el

al

euc



a c

ommu


nitie

s



Yüklə 4,39 Mb.

Dostları ilə paylaş:
  1   2   3   4   5




Verilənlər bazası müəlliflik hüququ ilə müdafiə olunur ©www.azkurs.org 2020
rəhbərliyinə müraciət

    Ana səhifə