A landmark study from The Australian National University (ANU) has found that forest soils need several decades to recover from bushfires and logging -- much longer than previously thought.
Lead researcher Elle Bowd from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society said the team found forest soils recovered very slowly over many years from these events -- up to 80 years following a bushfire and at least 30 years after logging.
"We discovered that both natural and human disturbances can have incredibly long-lasting effects on forest soils that could impact plant communities and ecosystem function," said Ms Bowd, who is the lead author of the ANU team's Nature Geoscience paper.
Professor David Lindenmayer, also from the ANU team, said scientists had not known how long soils were impacted by bushfires and logging prior to this study.
"We thought forests could recover within 10 or 15 years, at most, after these sorts of events," said Professor Lindenmayer from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society.
"Almost 99 per cent of Victoria's Mountain Ash forests have either been logged or burnt in the past 80 years, so these forests are facing a huge uphill battle to restore themselves to their former glory."
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