Burning Issues

eBook - June 2011 - eRetailers

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The role of fire in Australia's ecosystems, and how to manage fire both for safety and for diversity.

Southern Australia is one of the three most fire-prone areas on Earth. After more than a century of urban growth and valiant efforts to ‘tame’ the bush, recent decades have seen more people moving back onto the fringe or into the middle of this volatile landscape. As this movement has intensified, so has the debate on how to best protect life and property from the ever-present bushfire threat. A long-running drought and a predicted warming climate have ensured that bushfire is a dominant factor in our nation’s long-term planning. + Full description

Following the tragic Victorian Black Saturday fires in 2009, a much greater urgency now confronts policy makers, land and fire managers and communities living in bushfire areas. This has led to a call for a single, simple answer on fuel reduction burning to reduce the bushfire risk. Burning Issues explains that this is a complex issue without such a simple answer.

The book gives an account of the role of fire in Australia’s ecosystems, how we have to accept and live with fire, and how we can manage fire both for safety and for diversity. It aims to change people’s attitudes to fire, and to be influential in encouraging changes in land management by government agencies.

- Short description


No longer available in a print edition.


"This book will obviously be a useful source of information to anyone living in southern Australia and to those making decisions there. But it makes a superb case study for northern hemisphere ecologists and highlights the need to include social and political considerations into solving ecological problems."
Peter Thomas, Bulletin of the British Ecological Society 2011, 42 (4)

"The authors have written a book for Australians, based on Australian data and case studies. However, the issues addressed and the principles established are of much wider interest and application. The authors have succeeded in putting across a forceful message that fire in natural environments should be proactively managed.

The literature covered, data presented and their interpretation of these data are unique and interesting. The book should form compulsory reading for politicians responsible for environmental decisions relating to fire, officials in government departments responsible for managing land and environments, land managers, scientists and students across the world. The book is written in an easily readable style and is likely to be popular with the members of the general public who are interested in or affected by fire."
Kevin Kirkman, African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2011 28(3)

"... will surely become essential reading for anyone involved in fire or forest management."
Nick Goldie, Cooma-Monaro Express, 11 October 2011, p. 8


ePDF | June 2011
ISBN: 9780643103467
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers

ePUB | June 2011
ISBN: 9780643103474
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers


  • Leading authority on a subject of intense interest and debate
  • Topical, in the wake of the Coronial Enquiry into Black Saturday
  • Will stimulate discussion, and argument, in the media


Bushfires in Australia
The nature of fire
Ecology, fire and the Australian biota
Fire and ecological processes
Fire and climate change
Fighting fire with fire: I Why fuel-reduction burning? Does it achieve its aims?
Fighting fire with fire: II Fuel-reduction burning and diversity
Concluding comments: fuel reduction is essential for effective fire management in Australia

View the full table of contents.


Mark Adams is Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Sydney. He has held numerous Professorial appointments and distinguished fellowships in Australia and around the world. His teaching and research is focused on understanding Australian ecosystems – the land of drought, fire and flooding rain.

Peter Attiwill is Principal Fellow in Botany and Senior Fellow in Historical Studies, The University of Melbourne, and Editor-in-Chief of the prestigious international journal Forest Ecology and Management. He has written more than 170 publications, particularly in eucalypt and bushfire ecology. He was appointed Member of the Order of Australia in 2009.