Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Australian Aborignal Land Management Resources: Cool Burning Technique Research

As we enter into northern tropical Queensland's cool dry Autumn and Winter period you may not realises that this is the ideal time to use fire to control our environment. Cool burning is a fire management technique that Aboriginal Australians have been using for thousands of years. Recent scientific research points to its effectiveness, not just in reducing wildfires, but also as a carbon sink to help with climate change. Cool burning or traditional fire management may reduce carbon emissions by a third and research has show that this Indigenous innovation could save a billion tonnes of greenhouse gases.

The CSIRO has released several Indigenous Australian calenders which demonstrate how the seasons are identified by the local Traditional Owners. Each calender has how they utilise each season for tasks such as traditional burning in Winter (often called heavy dew time). The dew and the cool evenings help fires die down over night and result in a slow cool burn. Cool burns do not totally kill the trees yet still reduce fire loads, and clear the undergrowth and grass lands for a variety of reasons like ease of travelling, enriching the nutirent in soils for better plant growth, and creating ecosystems that assist  human activities for resource acquisition.

JCU students doing research around this topic may find the following items of interest:

Carbon accounting and savanna fire management  Editors: Brett P. Murphy, Andrew C. Edwards, Mick Meyer and Jeremy Russell-Smith.

Adaptation Pathways and Opportunities for the Wet Tropics NRM Cluster Region: volume 2: infrastructure, industry, Indigenous peoples, social adaptation, emerging planning frameworks, evolving methodologies and climate adaptation planning in practice Editors: Catherin Moran, Stephen M. Turton, and Rosemary Hill

Culture, ecology and economy of fire management in Northern Australian savannas : rekindling the Wurrk tradition  Editors: Jeremy Russell-Smith, Peter Whitehead, Peter Cooke.

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