Tropical Savannas CRC > Publications > Savanna Links > Savanna Links Archive > Issue 16, October - December 2000

Issue 16, October - December 2000


Biodiversity impact a hot fire research issue

THE effects of fire regimes on biodiversity is one of the most important fire research issues for land users across northern Australia, according to a recent CSIRO survey. CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems conducted the survey to help identify priority needs for fire research among stakeholders that included park management, Bushfires Counacil NT, pastoralists, and conservation, tourism, research and Aboriginal interests.

The survey’s response rate of 73 per cent reflected the keen interest in fire management across all sectors.

CSIRO and other research partners in northern Australia are planning new projects on fire to support nature conservation. The projects may become part of the CRC research program. CSIRO surveyed180 people from the Top End, north Queensland and the Kimberley.

The questionnaire identified the following potential areas of research, and respondents were asked to rank them from 1 (least important ) to 7 (most important).

  • Fuel loads, fire intensity, and other fire behaviour
  • Methods of fire control
  • Fire mapping
  • Effects of fire regimes on biodiversity
  • Effects of fire regimes on Greenhouse gases and carbon storage
  • Burning practices to achieve desired fire regimes
  • Traditional Aboriginal burning practices

After fire and biodiversity, the next most important issues were generally considered to be burning practices to achieve desired fire regimes, followed by fuel loads, fire intensity and other aspects of fire behaviour.

There was substantial variation among stakeholder groups in priorities. For example, compared with other stakeholders, such as fire managers and pastoralists, rated fuel loads, fire intensity and other aspects of fire behaviour and control higher, and effects of fire regimes on biodiversity lower.