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Burning potential at Australian prescribed fire forums

The Centre of Excellence for Prescribed Burning has recently attended two forums that addressed current and particular issues around prescribed burning.

The Centre of Excellence for Prescribed Burning has recently attended forums that addressed current and particular issues around prescribed burning.

North Australian Savanna Fire and Carbon Forum

Savanna burning in Northern Australia is big business. The newly formed Indigenous Carbon Industry Network recently ran a two-day workshop in Darwin that addressed emerging issues in delivering carbon abatement programs. Carbon abatement programs allow land management agencies to sell carbon credit units to the government through the Emissions Reduction Fund. Since its beginnings in 2006 with the establishment of the West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement project, there are now 25 Indigenous-owned and operated savanna fire projects.

By increasing the extent of prescribed burning undertaken during the early dry season and reducing the number and extent of more intense late dry season fires, these savanna burning projects are abating approximately 1.2 million tonnes of CO2e each year, representing 10 per cent of all carbon credit units produced across all methods.

The Savanna Fire and Carbon Forum facilitated the gathering of 200 representatives from the industry to:

  • share their stories
  • look at emerging methodologies that will account for carbon sequestration in savanna trees
  • understand the importance of monitoring and evaluation
  • gain insights into training and standards for increased capability for carbon farming.

The forum highlighted how carbon farming initiatives have raised social, environmental and economic prospects for local Traditional Owners on country.
Slides from the forum presentations are available to browse on the Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research website.

The Institute of Foresters of Australia Subtropical Forum

The Institute of Foresters of Australia held a one-day workshop in Lismore that focused on prescribed burning for multiple outcomes in subtropical (north east NSW and south east Queensland) Australia.

The presentations at the forum focused on burning for cultural and ecological outcomes while achieving fuel reduction objectives. The forum participants workshopped the changes they have witnessed in bushfire management, the challenges they face in addressing these changes and brainstormed innovative ideas to overcoming the challenges.

The forum comprised of 80 participants from local councils, land management agencies, state and private forestry organisations, fire services, research institutions. The participating groups agreed that the increase in cultural burning is an emerging opportunity that can provide multiple benefits for prescribed burning.

The groups also recognised an increased community understanding and involvement in prescribed burning would help to address some of the outstanding challenges and assist with ecological and risk reduction outcomes.

The Institute of Foresters Australia will put tougher a formal report on the forum which will be made available through the Centre of Excellence for Prescribed Burning when completed.