Bushfire can have a positive and a negative impact on native plants and animals.
We usually think of the damage and devastation fire causes to wildlife and vegetation, but a fire event can also have a positive impact for plants and animals.
- Heats the soil, cracking seed coats and triggering germination.
- Triggers woody seed pods held in the canopy to open, releasing seed onto a fresh and fertile ash bed.
- Clears thick understorey reducing competition for seedlings.
- Encourages new growth that provides food for many animals.
- Creates hollows in logs and trees that can be used by animals for nesting and shelter.
- Burn and damage to vegetation communities, such as rainforest that take hundreds of years to recover.
- Can kill or injury to individual plants and animals.
- Causes erosion and subsequent sedimentation of creeks and wetlands.
- Opens up areas to the impacts of weed and feral animal invasion as well as human access and vandalism.
Animals injured by a fire may only be rescued and cared for by licensed rehabilitation organisations or individuals. This is because injured animals can be dangerous to handle, handling injured animals may cause them further stress and fire-affected areas can be unsafe.