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The influence of prescribed fire on the extent of wildfire in savanna landscapes of western Arnhem Land, Australia

Journal Article


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Abstract


  • Fire regimes in many north Australian savanna regions are today characterised by frequent wildfires occurring in the latter part of the 7-month dry season. A fire management program instigated from 2005 over 24 000 km2 of biodiversity-rich Western Arnhem Land aims to reduce the area and severity of late dry-season fires, and associated greenhouse gas emissions, through targeted early dry-season prescribed burning. This study used fire history mapping derived mostly from Landsat imagery over the period 1990–2009 and statistical modelling to quantify the mitigation of late dry-season wildfire through prescribed burning. From 2005, there has been a reduction in mean annual total proportion burnt (from 38 to 30%), and particularly of late dry-season fires (from 29 to 12.5%). The slope of the relationship between the proportion of early-season prescribed fire and subsequent late dry-season wildfire was ~–1. This means that imposing prescribed early dry-season burning can substantially reduce late dry-season fire area, by direct one-to-one replacement. There is some evidence that the spatially strategic program has achieved even better mitigation than this. The observed reduction in late dry-season fire without concomitant increase in overall area burnt has important ecological and greenhouse gas emissions implications. This efficient mitigation of wildfire contrasts markedly with observations reported from temperate fire-prone forested systems.

Authors


  •   Price, Owen F.
  •   Russell-Smith, Jeremy (external author)
  •   Watt, Felicity (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Price, O. F., Russell-Smith, J. & Watt, F. (2012). The influence of prescribed fire on the extent of wildfire in savanna landscapes of western Arnhem Land, Australia. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 21 (3), 297-305.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84861146791

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=8082&context=scipapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/scipapers/4739

Number Of Pages


  • 8

Start Page


  • 297

End Page


  • 305

Volume


  • 21

Issue


  • 3

Abstract


  • Fire regimes in many north Australian savanna regions are today characterised by frequent wildfires occurring in the latter part of the 7-month dry season. A fire management program instigated from 2005 over 24 000 km2 of biodiversity-rich Western Arnhem Land aims to reduce the area and severity of late dry-season fires, and associated greenhouse gas emissions, through targeted early dry-season prescribed burning. This study used fire history mapping derived mostly from Landsat imagery over the period 1990–2009 and statistical modelling to quantify the mitigation of late dry-season wildfire through prescribed burning. From 2005, there has been a reduction in mean annual total proportion burnt (from 38 to 30%), and particularly of late dry-season fires (from 29 to 12.5%). The slope of the relationship between the proportion of early-season prescribed fire and subsequent late dry-season wildfire was ~–1. This means that imposing prescribed early dry-season burning can substantially reduce late dry-season fire area, by direct one-to-one replacement. There is some evidence that the spatially strategic program has achieved even better mitigation than this. The observed reduction in late dry-season fire without concomitant increase in overall area burnt has important ecological and greenhouse gas emissions implications. This efficient mitigation of wildfire contrasts markedly with observations reported from temperate fire-prone forested systems.

Authors


  •   Price, Owen F.
  •   Russell-Smith, Jeremy (external author)
  •   Watt, Felicity (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Price, O. F., Russell-Smith, J. & Watt, F. (2012). The influence of prescribed fire on the extent of wildfire in savanna landscapes of western Arnhem Land, Australia. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 21 (3), 297-305.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84861146791

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=8082&context=scipapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/scipapers/4739

Number Of Pages


  • 8

Start Page


  • 297

End Page


  • 305

Volume


  • 21

Issue


  • 3