Buttongrass Moorland

Buttongrass moorlands are a characteristic feature of the landscapes of western and south-western Tasmania. These extensive blanket moorlands are globally unique and have evolved in response to the combination of extremely low nutrient soils, waterlogging and periodic fire.

Buttongrass is among the most flammable vegetation types in the world. Unsurprisingly, buttongrass moorland species are well adapted to fire with many able to resprout soon after burning. Some species depend on seed for their regeneration but most of these have long lived seed that is protected in woody capsules/nuts or the soil from all but the most severe fires. Most buttongrass moorland communities recover from fire within 15 years.

Mosaic of buttongrass moorland, wet scrub and eucalypt forest, Vale of Rasselas, Southwest National Park

Fires can adversely impact buttongrass ecosystems when they occur in periods of dry and severe weather conditions. At these times fires may be severe enough to burn woody seed capsules and nuts or ignite organic soils (peat), burning roots and seeds. Peat fires can burn slowly for long periods and result in a loss of soil through combustion or subsequent erosion.


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