Fire management on private conservation lands: knowledge, perceptions and actions of landholders in eastern Australia
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Fire is an important natural disturbance process within the Australian landscape, but the complex and hazardous nature of fire creates a conservation management dilemma. For landholders of private conservation lands, management for conservation of biodiversity and risk reduction is complicated. Private conservation landholders in eastern Australia directed far less effort towards fire management than other conservation management actions, despite clearly acknowledging the risk and associated responsibilities of fire management on their lands. Nonetheless, landholders did undertake actions to reduce fuel hazards and prepare for wildfire events on their land. Despite the established role and benefits of fire to many ecosystems in the region, landholder understanding of the ecological role of fire was generally poor. Few landholders were aware of ecologically appropriate fire regimes for the vegetation types on their property, and few undertook fire management actions to achieve ecological outcomes. Site-specific obstacles, lack of fire management knowledge and experience, and legal and containment concerns contributed to the low level of fire management observed. There is a need for property-specific fire management planning across all private conservation lands, to further integrate ecological fire requirements into biodiversity management, and prioritise actions that aim to improve conservation outcomes while safeguarding life and property.
International Journal of Wildland Fire
Conservation and Biodiversity