September is considered the start of spring by most Australians, but Tim Entwisle thinks we have it all wrong. In the south at least, we should be celebrating an ‘early spring’ in August and September—when the wattles are blooming en masse—and a ‘late spring’ in October and November. Yet most don’t acknowledge that things are different in the great southern land.
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.”
The species is aptly named, as it is found in a protected pocket close to the Victorian town of Stuart Mill, in the John Colahan Griffin reserve about halfway between Bendigo and the Grampians/Gariwerd. With its conservation status of much concern, the population of these species has dwindled due to significant habitat loss.