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.
In a rapidly warming world, Victoria’s native forests, once threatened by overharvesting, are also threatened by fire and drought. Catriona Nguyen-Robertson revisits the work of Professor Patrick Baker, who recommends more targeted management practices to ensure our forests are resilient to global warming and extreme weather events.
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.”
Professor Patrick Baker, Professor of Silviculture and Forest Ecology at the University of Melbourne, explains how tree rings can tell us about a landscapes climate history, and prove a worrying trend towards more extreme weather events and bushfires as a result of climate change. His studies have shown that bushfires are becoming more widespread and hotter than ever before, not just scarring trees – but killing them.
Extreme events are becoming more devastating and more frequent. Communities, economies and ecosystems have increasingly less time to bounce back between them. How do we build resilience for the future? This summer’s devastating bushfires and the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic have given Australians an alarming insight to the sustained uncertainty we will be facing under a rapidly changing climate. Mike Flattley (Royal Society of Victoria) and Anthony Boxshall (Science Into Action) invited a number of speakers to discuss how we can build resilience into our planning strategies for water, agriculture and biodiversity. Featuring David McKenzie and Claire Flanagan-Smith on the Goulburn Murray Resilience Strategy, Lauren Rickards on Climate Change and Systems Transformation, Brendan Wintle on Decision Making for Biodiversity, Briony Rogers on Preparing the Water Sector for Transition, Richard Eckard on the Transition of the Agricultural Sector, and Sarah Bekessy on Building Community Ownership and Agency in the process.