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Southern Fleurieu

Biodiversity:  Managing fire regimes for biodiversity

Medium Priority

What is this issue

Inappropriate fire regime, including fire suppression near built-up areas.

Impacts of this issue

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

Causes

  • Difficulty in applying prescribed burns on private land
  • Difficulties and expense in burning swamps
  • Lack of understanding and community acceptance of fire requirements in heath and swamp systems 

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
  • Lack of understanding around fire frequency and habitat
  • Lack of understanding in the community of the role fire plays in maintaining biodiversity

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

  • Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board
  • Country Fire Service
  • Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
  • Local Government (District Council of Yankalilla, City of Victor Harbor, Alexandrina 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)
  • 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
  • Implement hazard reduction (prescribed) burns to reduce the threat to critical populations

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 swamps