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Linking fire ecology and fire management in south-west Australian forest landscapes

Forest Ecology and Management
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2008.01.009
  • Fire
  • Forest
  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation
  • Adaptive Management
  • Biology
  • Earth Science
  • Ecology


Abstract South-west Australia is a region of remarkable biological diversity, predominantly shaped by diversity of climate and geomorphology. Fire has also played an important role in shaping biodiversity over at least 2.5 million years and anthropogenic fire has been a part of this environment for tens of thousands of years. Forest ecosystems are fire-maintained, having evolved traits that enable them to persist with, and depend upon a variety of fire regimes. No single regime is optimal for all organisms and communities, but diverse regimes, within ecological limits, are essential for maintaining biodiversity. Bushfires can also threaten people, property and industry so fire management, including proactive use of fire, is necessary to both conserve biodiversity and to reduce the negative impacts of bushfires. There exists a substantial body of fire ecology literature for these ecosystems. If on-ground fire management is to advance commensurate with advances in fire science, then this often complex plethora of information needs to be synthesized, simplified and presented as practical fire management paradigms, policies and prescriptions. This paper attempts to achieve this by describing a range of evidence-based practical fire regimes that can be implemented to conserve biodiversity and to protect human life and property in south-west Australian forests.

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