As destructive bushfires become more common there is increasing political discussion how we manage them sustainably. Inevitably these debates raise questions of the past ecological effects of Aboriginal fire usage.
Rekindling an ancient craft
There is an opportunity to involve Aboriginal communities in fire management across Australia. This could sustain and rekindle an ancient tradition that was disrupted by European settlement.
Returning to, and managing, country has been shown to have measurable health benefits, an important consideration given the unacceptably poor state of Aboriginal health.
Climate change is compounding the bushfire problem. Even if we wanted to, returning to Aboriginal fire management in a rapidly warming world is no longer an option.
But adapting the principles of Aboriginal patch burning is an important potential strategy to improve fire management and biodiversity outcomes across Australia, be it restoring mosaics of small habitats in rural landscapes, or managing remote areas like the Western Tasmanian Wilderness, and large areas of outback Australia.
Read the full article by David Bowman from February 22, 2016 in theconversation.com.
About the source: The Conversation is a network of not-for-profit media outlets that publish news stories written by academics and researchers.