Desert Fire: fire and regional land management in the arid landscapes of Australia

Desert Fire: fire and regional land management in the arid landscapes of Australia Report

DKCRC Research Report

  • Author(s): Edwards, GP, Allan, GE
  • Published: 2009
  • Publisher: Desert Knowledge CRC
  • Volume: 37

Abstract: Fire is a regular and widespread feature across many Australian landscapes, including the vast desert regions. Its occurrence and impact in desert regions is as variable as the region itself, and attitudes towards fire vary both locally and regionally, between and within community groups. During the three-year period 2000–2002, fires were common in the central and northern regions of Australia’s desert lands, following a period of above average rainfall that created exceptional grass growth and fuel production. This raised the awareness of fire but has also led to conflicts among sectors of the rural community. The Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre (DKCRC) attempted to address some of the key issues in managing fire in desert Australia through an initiative called ‘Desert Fire’. Desert Fire was a collaborative project. It involved key partners of the DKCRC, including the Northern Territory Department of Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts and Sport (Bushfires NT, Biodiversity Conservation Division, Parks Division); the Central Land Council; Charles Darwin University; Adelaide University; key stakeholder groups and collaboration with the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre; and the Australian National University. Desert Fire was made up of ten subprojects, linked together to meet the common goal to ‘adapt and maintain appropriate fire regimes and their management based on robust research, planning, review and communication to support the diverse users and managers of desert lands to achieve a balance of their ecological, social and economic priorities’. This report is the main technical scientific report of Desert Fire. The report chapters each form standalone final accounts of aspects of an individual subproject of Desert Fire. Chapter 1 provides an introduction and overview of Desert Fire. Chapter 2 explores the fire regime of the Tanami Desert and associated regional issues in respect of fire management on pastoral lands. Chapter 3 examines Aboriginal use of fire as perceived by non-Aboriginal fire professionals and by Warlpiri and Pintupi people living in the Tanami Desert. Chapter 4 provides pastoralists’ perspectives on the costs of the widespread fires of 2000–2002 in the pastoral lands of the southern Northern Territory. Chapters 5 and 6 explore issues associated with the management of fire on conservation reserves in central Australia.

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Suggested Citation
Edwards, GP, Allan, GE, 2009, Desert Fire: fire and regional land management in the arid landscapes of Australia, Volume:37, Report, viewed 06 December 2023,

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