Prescribed burning saves lives, property and biodiversity

22 April 2020

A new research paper arguing prescribed burning can save lives, property and biodiversity has been strongly welcomed by the Institute of Foresters Australia and Australian Forest Growers (IFA/AFG).

Morgan et al.’s Prescribed burning in south-eastern Australia – history and future directions concludes that: “As the climate in south-eastern Australia becomes warmer and drier, it is more urgent than ever that appropriate strategies are in place, with a strong emphasis on prescribed burning, for the year-round management of fire-prone forests on public and private lands.”

“Such strategies could create a mosaic forest estate ranging from recently burnt to long unburnt, thereby providing the greatest chance of maintaining biodiversity while simultaneously reducing risks to lives and property and the costs of emergency and disaster relief.”

IFA/AFG President Bob Gordon said prescribed burning as a bushfire mitigation tool was more important than ever if Australia was to avoid a repeat of the catastrophic bushfires experienced across much of the nation last summer.

“The IFA/AFG have long advocated for the merits of prescribed burning and will continue to do so in order to protect the lives and properties of Australians and the future of our forests,” Mr Gordon said.

“Fire as a land management tool has been used since ancient times in Australia, and it remains a key tool in the face of climate change.

“As the nation continues to experience warmer and drier conditions the potential for out-of-control bushfires will only increase if the land and forest fuel levels are not proactively managed.

“While nothing will stop intense bushfires, reduced fuel levels enable fire-fighters to control more fires faster and reduce the amount burned.

“Remarks which suggest prescribed fuel reduction burning is not an effective or necessary forest management tool are dangerous and short-sighted. It may not be the perfect solution, but when used in conjunction with other bushfire mitigation measures it greatly assists the broader land management process.

“From experience, even when bushfires are burning under extreme conditions, reduced fuel levels provide a substantial benefit in reducing fire severity sufficiently to lessen impacts to wildlife, soil and water values in comparison to the impacts of the same fire burning through heavy fuel loads.

“The IFA/AFG urges the Bushfire Royal Commission to consider the findings of Prescribed burning in south-eastern Australia – history and future directions as they look into how to better prepare our nation to avoid a repeat of last summer’s tragic circumstances.”

To read Morgan et al.’s Prescribed burning in south-eastern Australia – history and future directions, click HERE


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