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Forum looks at burning regimes

A Fire and Biodiversity Forum has been scheduled for Friday 4 June at Margaret River HEART, to examine the effectiveness of target driven broadscale prescribed burning regimes.

Forum Convener Carole Peters said the objective was to develop an informed and nuanced conversation around fire mitigation, responses to fire, biodiversity, people and places, in the face of a changing climate.

“Broadscale” prescribed burning is used extensively as a fire mitigation tool in the South West, with an annual target of 200, 000 hectares, aiming to burn 45 per cent of the landscape in cycles of six years or less. The intention is to protect people, property and biodiversity.

“A growing number of fire behaviour experts, ecologists, conservationists, ecosystem scientists, fire practitioners and community environment groups have called for an urgent overhaul to current planned burning practices, due to their adverse ecological impacts in landscapes, including forests, peat swamps, granite outcrops and coastal vegetation.

“Our special guest speaker, Dr Phillip Zylstra is a fire behaviour expert who will model the connections between ecosystems and disturbance by fire. He will conclude the day with a fact filled research presentation that will articulate a new paradigm in which we are co-residents cooperating with country, rather than managers subduing it.

“Miranda Aitken, Anu Grace and Laurie Bancroft are Carlotta Brook performing original music full of story, heart and love for country.”

The forum will commence with a Welcome to Country by custodians Iszaac Webb and an address by Australia’s first Indigenous Professor of Biodiversity and the Environment, Dr Stephen van Leeuwen.

The following day, on Saturday 5 June from 9:00am to 12noon, there will be an additional workshop, facilitated by Dr Peters.

“This is an informal session with a series of short presentations by expert speakers. Ideas and questions are welcomed, working together in small groups to brainstorm possibilities, apply problem solving strategies and share ideas.

A field trip will allow participants to view different forest types, recent burns and aged forests, with ecologist Melissa Howe and Dr Zylstra. Participants will investigate macroinvertebrates with Mr David Knowles, from Spineless Wonders.

For tickets to the three events – Forum, Workshop and Field Trip, visit