Horton's view offire-vegetation relationships data on the environmental correlates associated with such patches the causal factor of anthropogenic burning is unproven. Horton argues that vegetation mosaics reflect underlying variations in edaphic and topographic factors. Fires burn such mosaics in such a way as to reinforce the environmentally determined pattern. Fire Regimes Horton suggests that Australian vegetation can be classified by its fire potential. He argues that climate determines the productivity of a site and that the fuel mass is a function of the productivity and decay of biomass. He supports this scheme by arguing that the 'wet forests' on the periphery of the continent have a potential for 'infrequent high intensity fires', in contrast to the central Australian vegetation that has the potential for frequent low intensity fires. He notes that the dry sclerophyll forests have intense fires because of their low rates of decomposition and rapid recovery following fire. That vegetation type, and hence fuel load or fire potential, correspond to climate, rather than the distribution of Aborigines, is seen as evidence a~ainst the fire-stick farmin~ model. Ignition source Horton suggests that climate not only determines the fuel loads but also provides the ignition source for bushfires.
Archaeology in Oceania – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 1986
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