With Australia already in the grip of another devastating fire season, landowners are being encouraged to join forces with scientists, fire agencies and land managers to have the best chance of fighting the bushfire risk, say a group of fire ecologists meeting in Adelaide this week.
Photo courtesy of David Gilmour: Hazard reduction burn being undertaken in Samford, Queensland.
Dangerous bushfire weather is set to worsen with climate change, according to climate scientists. This places landholders directly in the firing line, with the majority of bushland in Australia in private ownership and not managed by state or federal agencies.
This week, over 600 ecologists met in Adelaide for the annual conference of the Ecological Society of Australia, which showcases the best and most innovative ecological science in the nation. Acknowledging the recent tragedy of the fires still burning in South Australia’s mid north, the conference included a timely series of talks on better connecting fire science with onground fire management.
“The key is working with private landowners who own the vast majority of bushland in Australia and face an ever increasing threat from bushfire. There is an enormous amount of knowledge out there in the community and as scientists and land managers we need to get a lot better at building trust and initiating partnerships that empower landowners to better manage fire risk for the protection of life, property and the environment,” said Dr Sam Lloyd, Manager of the South East Queensland Fire and Biodiversity Consortium.
Dr Lloyd shared her experiences and lessons learnt from successful collaborations between landowners, fire agencies and land managers. She emphasised the importance of engaging with landowners in ways that help to build their capacity to better manage fire risk, including fire management planning workshops and field days focussed on how Australian animals and plants benefit from, and are affected by fire.
“At the end of the day there is a hell of a lot of ground breaking fire science being undertaken in Australia that is not being well communicated to the people that need it most. As we all reflect on the tragic start to this year’s bushfire season, the Ecological Society of Australia is examining how we, as ecologists, can better share our research and partner with land managers and landowners to help support effective fire management programs that aim to balance life and property with biodiversity values”, said Dr Lloyd.
Dr Samantha Lloyd
South East Queensland Fire and Biodiversity Consortium
0438 008 668