Prescribed burning - a fresh approach

Created date

Saturday, July 2, 2011 - 12:37am

One of the key recommendations out of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission was to significantly increase the levels of prescribed burning. As we well know, prescribed burning is inherently risky and is likely to have both positive and negative effects.

As part of the Bushfire CRC’s mission to conduct research in the social, economic and environmental impacts of bushfires, we have recently announced a substantial new research project that will integrate research information on fires, ecology, human behaviour, values and economics. This is the first time that such a process encompassing different disciplines has been conducted on this land management issue.

The Integrated Assessment of Prescribed Burning project will build upon the outputs of the original Bushfire CRC research program and supplement the current extension Program.

This project will be conducted over 12 months commencing July 2011 and will be led by Professor David Pannell of the University of Western Australia.  The project will draw on one or more case study areas. It will have implications, not just for Victoria, but for all areas where fire and land managers are balancing competing demands to manage the threat of bushfires on their communities.

Importantly, this innovative research approach is based on INFFER (Investment Framework for Environmental Resources).  INFFER won the Eureka Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in 2009, and elements of the INFFER project have won awards for excellence from the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society and the UK Agricultural Economics Society.  We are delighted that this process will now be tested against the questions raised in prescribed burning.  

Professor Pannell is a welcome addition to the Bushfire CRC research team. He is a Winthrop Professor in Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Western Australia, Director of the Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy, and a Federation Fellow of the Australian Research Council.  He specialises in interdisciplinary research to address complex decision problems.

Full details of this exciting new project will be added to the Bushfire CRC website soon.