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Central Ranges

Biodiversity:  Managing fire regimes for biodiversity

Medium Priority

What is this issue

Inappropriate fire regime.

Impacts of the issue

  • Lack of recruitment of fire-dependent species
  • Decline in condition of native vegetation if fires too frequent or absent
  • Risk of bushfire in patches 

Causes

Difficulty in applying prescribed burns near built up areas (risk to life and property)

Barriers

  • Engaging the general community to value biodiversity alongside the protection of life and property
  • CFS values life and property above biodiversity in managing and planning for fire
  • Government assumes the community values asset and property protection over biodiversity
  • Development and planning controllers have allowed development in places that are inappropriate
  • Lack of understanding around fire frequency and habitat
  • Barriers to fire planning on small blocks and steep terrain

Climate impacts and adaptation needs

  • An increase in the frequency and intensity of fires will increase the risk to biodiversity and place greater pressure on resources for fire management
  • Climate change may also reduce the period during which controlled burns can be undertaken, making fire management more difficult
  • An increase in fire-affected areas will increase susceptibility to invasion by weeds and pests

Who plays a role

  • Country Fire Service
  • Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
  • Local Government (Mid Murray Council, Barossa Council, Adelaide Hills Council)
  • SA Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board 

Strategies and Actions

Ensure coordinated fire planning and risk management that incorporates biodiversity assets

  • Ensure adequate consideration is given to ecological values during prescribed burn planning including consideration of burning to achieve ecological outcomes
  • Explore opportunities to undertake prescribed burns on private land for both ecological and landscape protection outcomes
  • Improve biodiversity information available to first responders (including location of critical populations)
  • Ensure adequate weed control following a fire (planned or unplanned) to ensure habitat condition does not decline post fire
  • Incorporate natural asset management needs (including fire breaks in strategic places and identify the location of critical populations of species) in Bushfire Management Area Plans
  • Explore opportunities to undertake prescribed burns on private land for both ecological and landscape protection outcomes

Undertake research into ecological responses of species and ecosystems to fire

  • Monitor fire impacts and recovery, to inform future fire planning and prescribed burns
  • Initiate trials into the biodiversity response to prescribed burns in specific ecosystems