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Vulnerability to bushfires in rural Australia: A case study from East Gippsland, Victoria

Journal Article


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Abstract


  • This paper investigates the nature and causes of vulnerability to bushfires in the Wulgulmerang district

    of East Gippsland, Victoria, in south-eastern Australia. In 2003 bushfires devastated the small population

    of this isolated farming district, destroying homes, agricultural assets and public infrastructure. The fires

    also adversely affected the health, livelihoods and social lives of many local people. The paper examines:

    (i) how and why people were exposed to hazards during the bushfires; and (ii) how and why people were

    differentially capable of coping and adapting to the fires’ impacts. Qualitative methods were primarily

    used to investigate these questions, including semi-structured interviews with residents and landholders

    of the district and others who responded to the fires in an official or unofficial capacity. Vulnerability is

    shown to arise from the circumstances of people’s everyday lives, which are shaped by factors both

    within and beyond their control. Local pressures and challenges e such as drought, declining farm

    incomes, depopulation, and the inaccessibility of essential services e are shown to increase people’s

    exposure to hazards and reduce their capacities to cope and adapt. The paper demonstrates the

    fundamental importance of sustainable livelihoods and regional economic vitality to the long-term goal

    of vulnerability reduction.

UOW Authors


  •   Whittaker, Joshua
  •   Handmer, John (external author)
  •   Mercer, David (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Whittaker, J., Handmer, J. & Mercer, D. (2012). Vulnerability to bushfires in rural Australia: A case study from East Gippsland, Victoria. Journal of Rural Studies, 28 161-173.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84858799703

Ro Full-text Url


  • https://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1304&context=smhpapers1

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/smhpapers1/300

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 12

Start Page


  • 161

End Page


  • 173

Volume


  • 28

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom

Abstract


  • This paper investigates the nature and causes of vulnerability to bushfires in the Wulgulmerang district

    of East Gippsland, Victoria, in south-eastern Australia. In 2003 bushfires devastated the small population

    of this isolated farming district, destroying homes, agricultural assets and public infrastructure. The fires

    also adversely affected the health, livelihoods and social lives of many local people. The paper examines:

    (i) how and why people were exposed to hazards during the bushfires; and (ii) how and why people were

    differentially capable of coping and adapting to the fires’ impacts. Qualitative methods were primarily

    used to investigate these questions, including semi-structured interviews with residents and landholders

    of the district and others who responded to the fires in an official or unofficial capacity. Vulnerability is

    shown to arise from the circumstances of people’s everyday lives, which are shaped by factors both

    within and beyond their control. Local pressures and challenges e such as drought, declining farm

    incomes, depopulation, and the inaccessibility of essential services e are shown to increase people’s

    exposure to hazards and reduce their capacities to cope and adapt. The paper demonstrates the

    fundamental importance of sustainable livelihoods and regional economic vitality to the long-term goal

    of vulnerability reduction.

UOW Authors


  •   Whittaker, Joshua
  •   Handmer, John (external author)
  •   Mercer, David (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Whittaker, J., Handmer, J. & Mercer, D. (2012). Vulnerability to bushfires in rural Australia: A case study from East Gippsland, Victoria. Journal of Rural Studies, 28 161-173.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84858799703

Ro Full-text Url


  • https://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1304&context=smhpapers1

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/smhpapers1/300

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 12

Start Page


  • 161

End Page


  • 173

Volume


  • 28

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom