Savanna fire management. Resources, methods and effectiveness, a case study of the Arnhem Plateau region, North Australia

  • Evans, Jay, (Principal Investigator/Chief Investigator A)

Project: HDR ProjectPhD

Project Details

Description

Fire is intrinsic to the savanna landscape and is a major driver in the structure, composition and dynamics of savannas. The co-existence of both fire-resistant and -sensitive taxa and habitats in northern Australian savannas suggests that fire has been a key disturbance historically. It is widely accepted that in northern Australia indigenous people have managed the land utilising fire for millennia and this fire use was instrumental in maintaining the savanna matrix. However, post-colonial fire management changed fire regimes to occur toward the late dry season when weather conditions become hotter and drier, causing much more damage to the environment.
The term ‘mosaic burning’ is often used to describe traditional burning practices and is an aim in fire management plans, specific definitions of the spatio-temporal characteristics of such fire regimes remain unclear and this continues to challenge notions of appropriate fire management.
It is possible that a reduction in extensive late season fire per se is not sufficient for effective conservation of north Australian savannas. Addressing the patchiness characteristics of a prescribed fire regime in relation to the natural environment may be as important as reversing the seasonality trend. However, there remains a lack on how a fire regime suitable for biodiversity conservation might be described, and what resources and methods would be required to sustainably and appropriately prescribe such a fire regime.
This study aims to explore the specific long term spatio-temporal characteristics of a fire regime that would best deliver biodiversity conservation outcomes, and what practices, tools and resourcing levels might be required for sustainable and efficient implementation and monitoring of such a fire regime in North Australia.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/02/17 → …