Action 1.6: Support all Wet Tropics land managers to implement appropriate fire regimes in response to a variable and changing climate

The issue to be addressed

A changing climate and environment is creating increasing challenges for land managers in undertaking planned burns (also called controlled burns) to manage fuel loads or achieve certain ecological outcomes. As weather becomes more variable and unpredictable, land managers are finding that the ‘windows’ when they would usually burn are changing, or disappearing altogether, creating new challenges in how land managers need to adapt planning and resourcing to this unpredictable fire context. The most complete and comprehensive guidance informing planned burns are through the Wet Tropics Bioregion of Queensland Planned Burn Guidelines (State of Queensland, 2012). However, these guidelines do not adequately address cultural burning practices or new challenges presented by climate change, and require updating. Consequential changes are also required by land managers in terms of how they plan and allocate resources for planned burns.

Rainforest Aboriginal People have managed the landscape through the use of fire for thousands of years. Traditional knowledge around the use of fire must be considered and incorporated into contemporary land management, including increased involvement of Rainforest Aboriginal People in planning and undertaking controlled burns.

Action we will take

The Authority will:

  • work with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and Rainforest Aboriginal People to update the Planned Burn Guidelines to adequately consider climate change
  • work with Wet Tropics land managers to embed these guidelines in land management frameworks (e.g. operational plans, management plans, farm plans, country-based plans)
  • support better integration of traditional cultural knowledge and western science in planned burns
  • advocate for more involvement of Rainforest Aboriginal People in planning and delivery of planned burns.

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