North Queensland Naturalist
North Queensland Naturalist 48 (2018): 30-38
Eucalyptus grandis W.Hill (Rose Gum) is one of a few dominant large tree species in the tall eucalypt forests of northern Queensland. Contrasting views are held over the role of fire in the management of the species. I review current information and present new data on the ecology of E. grandis in northern Queensland to inform management to ensure the continued recruitment of the species. Eucalyptus grandis is a facultative seeder able to recruit every 2-3 years if its habitat is burnt or otherwise disturbed. Establishment of seedlings and saplings is most frequent in communities with a grass/sedge ground layer and the maintenance of this layer is vital. The species lacks the ability to root sucker but can survive fires by basal coppicing; individuals as small as 2 cm DBH can survive a medium intensity fire while those top-killed will repeatedly coppice. At present a number of drivers, most notably rainforest encroachment, limits both prescribed and wild fires reaching communities in which E. grandis occurs. Consequently, recruitment is limited. Regardless of the fire regimes that shaped these communities, I recommend they be burned at a 3-5 year frequency. To ensure this occurs an emphasis should be placed on opportunistic prescribed burning at any intensity and in either early or late dry season.