DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A stand of Mountain Ash trees, Eucalyptus regnans, on the slopes of Mt Stirling Victoria at about 600m above sea level. E. regnans is a fire-sensitive species because it has thin bark and does not produce a lignotuber ( an underground swollen stem capable of regeneration ). In the picture the trees in the background (now all dead from the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009) are of a uniform age. This is because they arose from seed following an earlier fire, decades previously. At the time of the 2009 fire, the trees were already mature enough to produce seed. Their seedlings - nearly five years old in this picture - carpet the ground and will eventually, given sufficient time before the next fire event, produce seeds themselves. If fires are more frequent than at about 15 year intervals, E. regnans can be eliminated from an area, due to its failure to reach maturity.
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