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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 15(4)

Simulation of prescribed burning strategies in south-west Tasmania, Australia: effects on unplanned fires, fire regimes, and ecological management values

Karen J. King A E F, Geoffrey J. Cary A E, Ross A. Bradstock B E, Joanne Chapman C, Adrian Pyrke D, Jonathon B. Marsden-Smedley D E

A School of Resources, Environment and Society, Australian National University, Acton, ACT 0200, Australia.
B NSW Department of Environment and Conservation, Box 1967, Hurstville, NSW 2220, Australia.
C School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences, University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia.
D Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, GPO Box 1751, Hobart, Tas. 7001, Australia.
E Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre, Australia.
F Corresponding author. Email: karen.king@anu.edu.au
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Computer simulation modelling provides a useful approach for determining the trade-offs between the extent of prescribed burning and the long-term impacts of unplanned fires on management values. In the present study, FIRESCAPE-SWTAS, a process-based fire regime and vegetation dynamics model, was used in the World Heritage Area of south-west Tasmania, Australia, to investigate the implications of different prescribed burning treatments on identified management objectives. Treatments included annual prescribed burning of different proportions of the most flammable vegetation community, buttongrass moorlands. Additionally, a proposed strategic burning treatment for this landscape was simulated for comparison with these treatments. Simulations identified the nature of the relationships between the prescribed burn treatment level and the fire size distributions, the mean incidence, and the mean annual areas burnt by unplanned fires, with all three parameters declining with increases in treatment level. The study also indicated that strategically located treatment units were able to enhance the reduction in the fire risk to vegetation species susceptible to fire (fire-intolerant species).

Keywords: alpine vegetation; fire management; FIRESCAPE; rainforest.

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