Professor Geoffrey Hope ‘How have our mountain peatlands withstood fire over time?’

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Thursday, 4 May 2017 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Geoffrey, Visiting Fellow in the Fenner School, ANU, will discuss the vulnerability of peatlands in the Australian Alps.

Bogs and fens in Namadgi are a startling contrast to the water-limited slope vegetation of our region, staying green and luxuriant when grasslands and woodlands brown off each summer. Carbon dating shows that some bogs have been around for more than 15,000 years and during that time there have been changes in vegetation and fire regime that reflect changing climates and perhaps human use. Although threatened by climate change, the swamps have shown high resilience in the face of changing environments and large fires. These critical habitats will persist in some form but we have been trialling ways of reinforcing natural processes.

Geoffrey Hope is an ecologist and biogeographer with a particular interest in human and climatic impacts on vegetation. At present he is studying the recovery of the mountain bogs since the SE Australian fires of 2003 and the long term history of large sedge fens in the ACT in relation to archaeology and climate change.