This has been a bushfire season without precedent. As the world looked on horrified, our country burned. More than 11 million hectares have been reduced to ash, over 30 lives lost, thousands of properties destroyed, and wildlife decimated.
Now, as the smoke finally clears, the natural question is: what can, and should, we do differently to strategically manage our bushfire risk in future, given our climate will only become more hostile?
In this important Research Tuesdays forum, four leading University of Adelaide researchers tackled this challenge from multiple angles, including:
- the new world of ‘mega fires’ and the unique issues they bring
- integrated approaches to risk reduction, considering a combination of fuel load reduction, land use planning, building code changes and community education
- how values, gender, culture and conflict affect our perceptions of bushfire risk in relation to biodiversity conservation and environmental governance
- the potential benefits of Indigenous partnerships in bushfire-risk communities.
Professor Robert Hill director of the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute and is a former winner of the Clarke and Burbidge medals, from the Royal Society of NSW and Australian Systematic Botany Society respectively. He has authored over 200 refereed papers and 35 book chapters.
Professor Holger Maier is an environmental engineer in the University of Adelaide’s School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering. He is also a Research Leader in the area of decision support for natural-hazard risk reduction within the national Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre.
Associate Professor Melissa Nursey-Bray is Interim Head of the University of Adelaide’s School of Social Sciences. Her research focuses on how to engage communities in environmental decision-making, particularly in the context of climate change and biodiversity protection.
Associate Professor Douglas Bardsley is the Acting Head of the Department of Geography, Environment and Population. His research focuses on climate change impacts to socio-ecosystems both in Australia and internationally, including fire risk management.