Paper lead by honours student Brooke Williams has recently been published in the Journal of Applied Ecology. Fire management is an important aspect of ensuring the safety of Australians. It can be challenging due to many factors such as time and budget constraints, the possibility of a prescribed burn escaping, possible damage to the ecosystem from burning too frequently or not frequently enough, negative perceptions of the community, and sometimes conflicting objectives. While asset protection is an essential fire management objective, fire is also applied to the environment to ensure the ecological integrity of fire-dependent ecosystems.
The research tries to address these some of these challenges by using the Dry Sclerophyll Forest ecosystem of the City of Gold Coast, Australia. It shows that is it possible to achieve good outcomes for multiple objectives (asset protection and biodiversity) without increasing annual budgets. This work was part of a broader ARC linkage project as part of a collaborative initiative between the City of Gold Coast and the University of Queensland, and was supported by the South East Queensland Fire and Biodiversity Consortium.
The article can be viewed at http://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12920
Commentary on blog post from editor: https://jappliedecologyblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/26/when-to-burn-and-where/