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Wildfires, fuel treatment and risk mitigation in Australian eucalypt forests: Insights from landscape-scale simulation

Bradstock, Ross A.; Cary, Geoffrey; Davies, Ian; Price, O.; Williams, Richard J; Lindenmayer, David B

Description

Wildfires pose significant risks to people and human infrastructure worldwide. The treatment of fuel in landscapes may alter these risks but the magnitude of this effect on risk is poorly understood. Evidence from Australian Eucalyptus forests suggests that mitigation of risk using prescribed burning as a fuel treatment is partial because weather and fuel dynamics are conducive to regular high intensity fires. We further examine the response of risk to treatment in eucalypt forests using...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorBradstock, Ross A.
dc.contributor.authorCary, Geoffrey
dc.contributor.authorDavies, Ian
dc.contributor.authorPrice, O.
dc.contributor.authorWilliams, Richard J
dc.contributor.authorLindenmayer, David B
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-10T23:03:03Z
dc.identifier.issn0301-4797
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/62008
dc.description.abstractWildfires pose significant risks to people and human infrastructure worldwide. The treatment of fuel in landscapes may alter these risks but the magnitude of this effect on risk is poorly understood. Evidence from Australian Eucalyptus forests suggests that mitigation of risk using prescribed burning as a fuel treatment is partial because weather and fuel dynamics are conducive to regular high intensity fires. We further examine the response of risk to treatment in eucalypt forests using landscape simulation modelling. We model how five key measures of wildfire activity that govern risk to people and property may respond to variations in rate and spatial pattern of prescribed fire. We then model effects of predicted climate change (2050 scenarios) to determine how the response of risk to treatment is likely to be altered in the future. The results indicate that a halving of risk to people and property in these forests is likely to require treatment rates of 7-10% of the area of the landscape per annum. Projections of 2050 weather conditions under climate change further substantially diminished the effect of rate of treatment. A large increase in rates of treatment (i.e. circa. 50% over current levels) would be required to counteract these effects of climate change. Such levels of prescribed burning are unlikely to be financially feasible across eucalypt dominated vegetation in south eastern Australia. Despite policy imperatives to expand fuel treatment, a reduction rather than an elimination of risk will result. Multi-faceted strategies will therefore be required for the management of risk.
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherAcademic Press
dc.sourceJournal of Environmental Management
dc.subjectKeywords: fuel; climate change; evergreen forest; evergreen tree; forest management; fuel; landscape; magnitude; numerical model; prescribed burning; risk factor; wildfire; article; Australia; climate change; Eucalyptus; fire; fogo selvagem; landscape; nonhuman; ri Climate change; Cost-effectiveness; Prescribed fire
dc.titleWildfires, fuel treatment and risk mitigation in Australian eucalypt forests: Insights from landscape-scale simulation
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume105
dc.date.issued2012
local.identifier.absfor070503 - Forestry Fire Management
local.identifier.ariespublicationf5625xPUB659
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationBradstock, Ross A., University of Wollongong
local.contributor.affiliationCary, Geoffrey, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationDavies, Ian, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationLindenmayer, David, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationPrice, O., University of Wollongong
local.contributor.affiliationWilliams, Richard J, CSIRO Division of Sustainable Ecosystems
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage66
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage75
local.identifier.doi10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.03.050
local.identifier.absseo960906 - Forest and Woodlands Land Management
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T09:30:28Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84859914212
local.identifier.thomsonID000305204900008
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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