by Tony Grice, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems
From Savanna Burning — Understanding and Using Fire in
Northern Australia, Tropical Savannas CRC, Darwin 2001
Rubber vine infestation chokes out river systems
Photo: Colin Wilson
Rubber vine (Cryptostegia grandiflora) is an invasive
weed that is choking out many woodlands and riverside areas
throughout northern Queensland. Not only does it create dense
thickets, removing pastoral country from production, it is a refuge
for feral pigs and removes ground cover, promoting erosion along
creeks and rivers.
Rubber vine is relatively fire sensitive provided the stem base
of each plant is heated. Burning in the late dry season will yield
high intensity fires that may kill most juvenile plants and
50–70% of adult plants.
High-intensity fires can kill and open up dense
rubber vine infestations
Fires of this intensity need 3–4 t/ha of grass fuel.
Burning on hot days during dry spells in the wet season can also be
effective. This method has been used in riverside zones and relies
on having significant amounts of litter (e.g. eucalypt leaves,
branches and similar debris). This litter provides enough fuel to
reach the ignition temperature of green rubber vine leaves, leading
to an intense fire.