Thursday, 14 August 2014

Fire

We've been on the road about seven weeks, up and down the Stuart Highway. There's now a lot of the tourist literature stuffed into the pocket behind the passenger seat of our car. Some of it has been useful and informative, some is just advertising junk, some inadequate. I'll probably put it all into the recycle bin when we get home.



A fact mentioned in a lot of the material is that the environment needs to be regularly burnt, has been burnt for thousands of years by Aboriginals and lightning strikes, that many plants nee the heat of fire in order to regenerate. But, I have seen a lot of damage on our travels and I'm sorry now that I didn't photograph the ugly as well as the beautiful. I've seen many kilometres of roadsides where the plants have not recovered, I've seen mature trees burnt beyond recovery, I've seen Mulga trees completely destroyed by fire and no young plants growing to replace them. Maybe the fires have been too hot. Maybe they've been too frequent. Maybe they've been too large rather than a patchwork of small fires.

I think it's a big problem. Is it used as a management tool for weeds? Are the fires planned or random? Is it occurring just along the highways or is it happening on the stations as well? Where are the mature trees with hollows? Where is the biodiversity that used to exist? Where to the small fauna go when the fire is large? And if they do manage to hide underground what do they eat when they emerge after a fire? I need to do some more reading on the subject.

We saw a lot of fires through the Alice Springs area when we travelled through three years ago. This year we haven't seen any. But we did see a lot in the savannah woodland in the Top End.











1 comment:

Gouldiae said...

I'm with you Boobook, I don't think we've got the 'fire regime' right yet - good luck with your research. There is some doubt about the theory of traditional aboriginal burning I believe. (http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/news/2010/12/aboriginal-burn-off-theory-hosed-down/)

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