Savannas constitute the most fire-prone vegetation type on earth and are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. Most savanna fires are lit by people for a variety of livelihood applications. 'Savanna burning' is an accountable activity under the Kyoto Protocol, but only Australia, as a developed economy, accounts for emissions from this source in its national accounts. Over the past decade considerable effort has been given to developing savanna burning projects in northern Australia, combining customary indigenous (Aboriginal) approaches to landscape-scale fire management with development of scientifically robust emissions accounting methodologies. Formal acceptance by the Australian Government of that methodology, and its inclusion in Australia's developing emissions trading scheme, paves the way for Aboriginal people to commercially benefit from savanna burning projects. The paper first describes this Australian experience, and then explores options for implementing community-based savanna burning emissions reduction projects in other continental savanna settings, specifically in Namibia and Venezuela. These latter examples illustrate that savanna fire management approaches potentially have broader application for contributing to livelihood opportunities in other fire-prone savanna regions.
Russell-Smith, J., Monagle, C., Jacobson, M., Beatty, R., Bilbao, B., Millan, A., Vessuri, H., & SÃ¡nchez-Rose, I. (2017). Can savanna burning projects deliver measurable greenhouse emissions reductions and sustainable livelihood opportunities in fire-prone settings? Climatic Change, Online, 47-61. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-013-0910-5