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Federal Court’s Strathbogie decision for planned burns

Strathbogie Forest

Forestry Australia has welcomed the decision by the Federal Court to allow planned prescribed burns in the Strathbogie Forest. In the Federal Court, Justice Horan dismissed a move to stop four prescribed burns in the forest. Source: Timberbiz

Forestry Australia President Dr Michelle Freeman said prescribed burning recognises Australia’s fire-dependent ecosystems, and fire-adapted flora and fauna that have evolved through the long tradition of indigenous caring for Country.

“Decades of on ground research and lived experience has shown that prescribed burning can reduce subsequent bushfire severity through reducing fuel loads and also make bushfires easier to control when they do occur,” Dr Freeman said.

“Fuel reduced forests are significantly less affected than forests carrying heavy fuel loads when unplanned mid-summer bushfires pass through them, and this is why prescribed burning is an essential activity.”

Dr Freeman said fire requires three elements – fuel, oxygen, and heat – known as the “fire triangle”.

“Of these, the only variable that humans can control in forests is fuel level – and well-planned prescribed burning is an effective tool for managing forest fuel accumulation.

“That being said, it is imperative that prescribed burning is planned and managed appropriately, informed by evidence, with other forest values and key habitats in mind”.

“Inappropriate or unnatural fire regimes are the second-most cited reason, after invasive species, for threatened species listings in Australia.

“While there is no panacea for reducing the impacts of catastrophic bushfires, well-managed prescribed burning is a scientifically proven part of the solution.

“Simply, reduced fuel levels in forests will reduce the severity of bushfires under all bar the most catastrophic fire weather conditions.