Can savanna burning projects deliver measurable greenhouse emissions reductions and sustainable livelihood opportunities in fire-prone settings?

Jeremy Russell-Smith, Catherine Monagle, Margaret Jacobson, Robin Beatty, Bibiana Bilbao, Adriana Millan, Hebe Vessuri, Isabelle Sánchez-Rose

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)47-61
    Number of pages15
    JournalClimatic Change
    VolumeOnline
    Early online date7 Nov 2013
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

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