Prescribed burns are said to mimic First Peoples’ cultural burning practices, but Dr Philip Zylstra argues the use of fire in healing and managing Country is far more complex. Australia is wet enough for things to grow, and dry enough for them to burn. Animals and plants have adapted. And over millennia, First Peoples developed cooperative fire regimes.
Fire patterns are linked to climate conditions, and have been undergoing changes in tandem with anthropogenic climate change. We must understand these changes to more effectively forecast and manage fires for both human safety and the preservation of biodiversity. Kate Bongiovanni explores Dr Luke Kelly’s work on “pyrodiversity.”
Despite the changes that occurred after European settlement, Melbourne’s urban waterways still contain remnant ecosystems, which faintly echo the diversity they once displayed. In addition to their contribution to the city’s environmental values, urban waterways also provide important social, economic, and aesthetic benefits.
The recognition, management, and mitigation of the increasing risk posed by biodiversity loss is not yet a regular part of risk management, as climate change has become. There is still work to do to raise awareness of the economic impact of biodiversity loss, and then to manage and reverse this impact. “Towards Conservation and Recovery of Victoria’s Biodiversity” provides recommendations and practical actions to assist us all.
How big is the problem of invasive species? In the words of Deakin University’s Professor Euan Ritchie, ‘the short answer is: it’s massive’. Invasive genes and species are one of the biggest environmental problems facing Australia and the number one cause of native species extinctions. They also cause immense economic and cultural damage; since the 1960s, Australia has variously spent and incurred losses amounting to $390 billion due to invasive species.