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Aboriginal fire use in Australian tropical savannas: ecological effects and management lessons

Citation

Vigilante, T and Murphy, B and Bowman, DMJS, Aboriginal fire use in Australian tropical savannas: ecological effects and management lessons, Tropical Fire Ecology: Climate Change, Land Use and Ecosystem Dynamics, Springer, Mark A. Cochrane (ed), UK, pp. 143-167. ISBN 978-3-540-77380-1 (2009) [Research Book Chapter]

Abstract

The tropics are home to most of the world’s biodiversity and are currently the frontier for human settlement. Tropical ecosystems are being converted to agricultural and other land uses at unprecedented rates. Land conversion and maintenance almost always rely on fire and, because of this, fire is now more prevalent in the tropics than anywhere else on Earth. Despite pervasive fire, human settlement and threatened biodiversity, there is little comprehensive information available on fire and its effects in tropical ecosystems. Tropical deforestation, especially in rainforests, has been widely documented for many years. Forests are cut down and allowed to dry before being burned to remove biomass and release nutrients to grow crops. However, fires do not always stop at the borders of cleared forests. Tremendously damaging fires are increasingly spreading into forests that were never evolutionarily prepared for wild fires. The largest fires on the planet in recent decades have occurred in tropical forests and burned millions of hectares in several countries. The numerous ecosystems of the tropics have differing levels of fire resistance, resilience or dependence. At present, there is little appreciation of the seriousness of the wild fire situation in tropical rainforests but there is even less understanding of the role that fire plays in the ecology of many fire adapted tropical ecosystems, such as savannas, grasslands and other forest types.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords: Fire - Fire ecology - Global climate change - Land cover change - Tropical ecology
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological Applications
Research Field:Landscape Ecology
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Ecosystem Assessment and Management
Objective Field:Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales
Author:Murphy, B (Dr Brett Murphy)
Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
ID Code:62146
Year Published:2009
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2010-03-10
Last Modified:2012-02-14
Downloads:0

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