Fire management in a new rangelands economy: making sense of research, policy and on-ground implementation

Fire management in a new rangelands economy: making sense of research, policy and on-ground implementation Conference Paper

17th Australian Rangeland Society Biennial Conference

  • Author(s): Dionne Walsh, Robyn Cowley, Jeremy Russell-Smith
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: Australian Rangeland Society

Abstract: Savanna burning contributes between 2-4% annually to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions accounts. However, fire is a natural process and a key land management tool in the northern Australian rangelands. Fire is used to control woodland thickening, improve pasture production and quality, control weeds and manage habitat for biodiversity conservation. In recent times there has been a concerted attempt to move away from complete fire suppression and its consequence: frequent, high intensity wildfires late in the dry season. In fire-adapted vegetation types, prescribed early dry season fires have the advantages of providing an effective management tool for reducing the incidence of late season wildfires and generating less greenhouse gas emissions. However such a fire regime, in combination with grazing, may result in undesirable levels of woody vegetation thickening. The emergence of a carbon economy in Australia hints at the opportunity for pastoral land managers to diversify their enterprises by adopting fire management practices which reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase longer term sequestration into living biomass. This opportunity comes at a time when the economic performance of the northern pastoral industry is suffering. In order to realise benefits from a new rangelands economy, we need to identify and address the gaps in scientific knowledge, current policy settings and implementation to optimise the conservation, production, emissions and economic outcomes.

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Suggested Citation
Dionne Walsh, Robyn Cowley, Jeremy Russell-Smith, 2012, Fire management in a new rangelands economy: making sense of research, policy and on-ground implementation, Conference Paper, viewed 14 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3638.

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