Fire and carbon management in a diversified rangelands economy

Research, policy and implementation challenges for northern Australia

Dionne Walsh, Jeremy Russell-Smith, Robyn Cowley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Burning of savanna is a globally important source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In Australia, burning of savanna contributes between 2% and 4% annually of the nation's reportable emissions. Complete removal of this source of emissions is unrealistic because fire is a ubiquitous natural process and important land-management tool. In the rangelands of northern Australia, fire is used to manage habitat for conservation, control woodland thickening, manipulate pastures for grazing and is an essential component of indigenous cultural and land-management practice. There has been a concerted attempt in recent times to move away from complete fire suppression and its consequence: frequent, extensive and high intensity wildfires occurring late in the dry season. In fire-adapted vegetation types, prescribed early dry season fires help reduce the incidence of late season wildfires and consequently the amount of GHG emissions produced. The emergence of a carbon economy affords a potential opportunity for land managers to diversify their livelihoods by adopting fire-management practices that reduce GHG emissions and increase carbon sequestration. However, in order to realise benefits from this emerging economy, there is a need to identify and address a range of barriers affecting community participation. The papers in this Special Issue document current scientific knowledge, policy issues and pathways to participation, with particular reference to Australia's savanna rangelands. This introductory paper outlines how northern Australia has both the opportunity and requirement to develop a diversified rangelands economy to realise multiple conservation, economic and emissions outcomes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)313-322
    Number of pages10
    JournalRangeland Journal
    Volume36
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Sep 2014

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    research policy
    range management
    rangeland
    greenhouse gas emissions
    rangelands
    carbon
    savannas
    savanna
    wildfires
    greenhouse gas
    land management
    dry season
    wildfire
    management practice
    community service
    fire suppression
    habitat conservation
    livelihood
    fire management
    carbon sequestration

    Cite this

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    abstract = "Burning of savanna is a globally important source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In Australia, burning of savanna contributes between 2{\%} and 4{\%} annually of the nation's reportable emissions. Complete removal of this source of emissions is unrealistic because fire is a ubiquitous natural process and important land-management tool. In the rangelands of northern Australia, fire is used to manage habitat for conservation, control woodland thickening, manipulate pastures for grazing and is an essential component of indigenous cultural and land-management practice. There has been a concerted attempt in recent times to move away from complete fire suppression and its consequence: frequent, extensive and high intensity wildfires occurring late in the dry season. In fire-adapted vegetation types, prescribed early dry season fires help reduce the incidence of late season wildfires and consequently the amount of GHG emissions produced. The emergence of a carbon economy affords a potential opportunity for land managers to diversify their livelihoods by adopting fire-management practices that reduce GHG emissions and increase carbon sequestration. However, in order to realise benefits from this emerging economy, there is a need to identify and address a range of barriers affecting community participation. The papers in this Special Issue document current scientific knowledge, policy issues and pathways to participation, with particular reference to Australia's savanna rangelands. This introductory paper outlines how northern Australia has both the opportunity and requirement to develop a diversified rangelands economy to realise multiple conservation, economic and emissions outcomes.",
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    Fire and carbon management in a diversified rangelands economy : Research, policy and implementation challenges for northern Australia. / Walsh, Dionne; Russell-Smith, Jeremy; Cowley, Robyn.

    In: Rangeland Journal, Vol. 36, No. 4, 24.09.2014, p. 313-322.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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