The Vegetation and Fire Project is examining how fire activity varies according to landscape, vegetation type, land tenure and management history, including grazing and burning, in two South East Australia settings (Tasmania and the Australian Alps). The aim is to deliver this information based on analysis of fire history via a web-based tool that has application for biodiversity conservation, infrastructure planning and emergency services.
The University of Tasmania based Vegetation and Fire team is led by Professor David Bowman and includes Dr Grant Williamson (Eco-Spatial Analyst) and Louise Romanin (PhD Student) from the University of Tasmania and Dr Brett Murphy (Research Fellow) from the Melbourne University.
Land managers and decisions makers will have access to new tools that will provide an improved understanding of the relationships between climate change, land tenure, fire history and land management on vegetation cover and fuel loads. This in turn will improve awareness of the preconditions that influence fire frequency and intensity. Using the Climate Futures Project's fine-scaled projections, the team will then project fire activity and risk models for the two study areas.
Interactive web-based maps of the fire history for Tasmania and the Australian Alps will allow land managers to easily view historical fire occurrence as captured in the records. Topographic and satellite imagery layers, including Google Maps API, will be used to enhance the display.
A Fire Masterclass brought together Australia's leading fire ecologists and vegetation modellers in Hobart (9-11 October 2013) to discuss the challenges of predictive modelling of fire in a time of rapid environmental change. Read more at: Fire Masterclass
David’s research into megafires featured in an ABC TV Catalyst Special: Earth on Fire. David and Peter Jacobs (Steering Committee and formerly of Parks Victoria) discuss the research with Parks Victoria into the impact of megafires on the alpine ash trees. Tasmanian fire managers Mike Brown and Sandra Whight also feature in the Catalyst report highlighting the potential threat of fires to Hobart and the changing landscapes after these megafires.