Margot Schneider ‘Fuel flammability and past fires?’

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Thursday, 17 November 2022 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
Margot holding a Eucalyptus pilularis (Blackbutt) branch CMcGregor photo
Margot holding a Eucalyptus pilularis (Blackbutt) branch

Margot, 2020 winner of National Parks Australia ACT scholarship, will talk on the effect of past fire on fuel flammability, with particular emphasis on the leaf chemistry of Eucalyptus pilularis (Blackbutt).


With climate change increasing the frequency and intensity of bushfires, the frequency and intensity of past fires could help predict how ecosystems will respond to future fire.

Fire regimes can alter leaf chemistry and hence flammability. Margot examined leaf chemical composition at Booderee National Park, specifically Eucalyptus pilularis, at pre-established field sites taking into consideration Time Since Fire and Fire Frequency.  Samples were taken of leaf litter and fresh leaves.  She quantified nutrients known to affect flammability and the depletion effect of fire on soil nutrients. 

Differences in leaf chemistry of leaf litter and fresh leaves are attributed to low nutrient levels of Booderee soils, as E pilularis has adapted to re-absorbs nutrients from leaves before senescence.  Margot is interested in how decreased nutrient content  as a result of fire could increase  leaf flammability, and  raises the question of how other species adapt compared to E pilularis.


Margot Schneider is employed as a Research Officer at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at ANU, where she continues with this research. She works full time at the Atlas of Living Australia in the Science and Decision Support Team based at CSIRO.

Lunchtime talks are held at 12.30 pm every Thursday from February to November.  Talks last for 1 hour.  We welcome a gold coins donation. The Friends use donations received at each talk to support Gardens’ programs and development and thank all those who have donated.  Please note: unless otherwise indicated, talks are in the ANBG Theatrette.

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The Friends of the ANBG thank the speakers who volunteer their time and talents to further the knowledge of all attending events in the Gardens. Some summaries or PowerPoint presentations of Thursday talks are available to Friends at the ANBG library. A donation to the Friends for the use of this material will be gratefully accepted. Please direct queries about the talks to the Thursday Talks Team: email

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