Skip navigation
Skip navigation

Options for reducing house-losses during wildfires without clearing trees and shrubs

Gibbons, Philip; Gill, A Malcom; Shore, Nicholas; Moritz, Max A.; Dovers, Stephen; Cary, Geoffrey

Description

Removing vegetation close to houses is at the forefront of advice provided to home owners by fire management agencies. However, widespread clearing of trees and shrubs near houses impacts aesthetics, privacy, biodiversity, energy consumption and property values. Thus, stakeholders may oppose this practice. Regulators and property owners therefore require options for vegetation management that reduce risk to houses during wildfires without complete removal of trees and shrubs. Using data from...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorGibbons, Philip
dc.contributor.authorGill, A Malcom
dc.contributor.authorShore, Nicholas
dc.contributor.authorMoritz, Max A.
dc.contributor.authorDovers, Stephen
dc.contributor.authorCary, Geoffrey
dc.date.accessioned2019-04-08T11:35:12Z
dc.identifier.issn0169-2046
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/159338
dc.description.abstractRemoving vegetation close to houses is at the forefront of advice provided to home owners by fire management agencies. However, widespread clearing of trees and shrubs near houses impacts aesthetics, privacy, biodiversity, energy consumption and property values. Thus, stakeholders may oppose this practice. Regulators and property owners therefore require options for vegetation management that reduce risk to houses during wildfires without complete removal of trees and shrubs. Using data from 499 houses impacted by wildfires, we tested three hypotheses: (1) maintaining ‘green’ vegetation affords houses additional protection during wildfires; (2) risk posed by trees and shrubs near houses is reduced where they are arranged as many discrete patches; and (3) trees and shrubs retained in the upwind direction from which wildfires arrive represent greater risk to houses than trees and shrubs retained in the downwind direction. We found empirical support for each hypothesis. Increasing the mean Normalised Vegetation Difference Index (NDVI) (a measure of “greenness”) of vegetation near houses had the same effect on reducing house losses as removing some trees and shrubs. Trees and shrubs within 40 m of houses arranged as many discrete patches posed less risk than the same cover of trees and shrubs arranged as few discrete patches. Trees and shrubs retained downwind from houses represented less risk than trees and shrubs retained upwind. Our findings represent options for regulators or home owners seeking to balance risk posed by wildfires with benefits associated with retaining trees and shrubs near houses.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherElsevier
dc.sourceLandscape and Urban Planning
dc.titleOptions for reducing house-losses during wildfires without clearing trees and shrubs
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume174
dc.date.issued2018
local.identifier.absfor120504 - Land Use and Environmental Planning
local.identifier.absfor090799 - Environmental Engineering not elsewhere classified
local.identifier.absfor050202 - Conservation and Biodiversity
local.identifier.ariespublicationa383154xPUB9486
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationGibbons, Philip, College of Science, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationGill, A Malcom, College of Science, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationShore, Nicholas, College of Science, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationMoritz, Max A., University of California
local.contributor.affiliationDovers, Stephen, College of Science, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationCary, Geoffrey, College of Science, ANU
local.description.embargo2039-12-31
local.identifier.doi10.1016/j.landurbplan.2018.02.010
dc.date.updated2019-03-12T07:21:46Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-85042667752
dc.provenanceJournal: Landscape and Urban Planning (ISSN: 0169-2046) RoMEO: This is a RoMEO green journal Paid OA: A paid open access option is available for this journal. Author's Pre-print: green tick author can archive pre-print (ie pre-refereeing) Author's Post-print: green tick author can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing) Publisher's Version/PDF: cross author cannot archive publisher's version/PDF
CollectionsANU Research Publications

Download

File Description SizeFormat Image
01_Gibbons_Options_for_reducing_2018.pdf357.13 kBAdobe PDF    Request a copy


Items in Open Research are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

Updated:  19 May 2020/ Responsible Officer:  University Librarian/ Page Contact:  Library Systems & Web Coordinator