In the absence of fire, a thick understorey of rainforest species develops and decline of canopy trees followed by premature death is apparent. Earlier research has indicated that there are associated changes in the fungal community when a forest is in decline. This research project aims to identify changes in the fungal community as forests become increasingly unhealthy and may also identify aspects of the fungal community that influence and maintain healthy forests. To do this, fungal species will be examined from healthy recently burnt forest and long unburnt unhealthy forest. Changes that take place in the fungal community following fire will also be monitored. The outcomes of this project will not only expand our understanding of fire ecology and forest health but also identify possible forest health indicators within the fungal community which will aid in the long term management of healthy forests.
Authorised by the Head of School, Plant Science
17 April, 2012