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EcoFire: regional-scale prescribed burning increases the annual carrying capacity of livestock on pastoral properties by reducing pasture loss from wildfire

Skroblin, Anja, Legge, Sarah, Webb, Terry and Hunt, Leigh P. (2014). EcoFire: regional-scale prescribed burning increases the annual carrying capacity of livestock on pastoral properties by reducing pasture loss from wildfire. The Rangeland Journal,36(2):133-142.

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID 84376995xPUB201
Title EcoFire: regional-scale prescribed burning increases the annual carrying capacity of livestock on pastoral properties by reducing pasture loss from wildfire
Author Skroblin, Anja
Legge, Sarah
Webb, Terry
Hunt, Leigh P.
Journal Name The Rangeland Journal
Publication Date 2014
Volume Number 36
Issue Number 2
ISSN 1036-9872   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 133
End Page 142
Total Pages 10
Place of Publication Australia
Publisher C S I R O Publishing
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract Prescribed burning is an important management tool in the extensive pastoral lands in northern Australia. It can be used to influence grazing patterns, increase the nutritive value of pastures, reduce the density of woody shrubs and reduce the risk of damaging wildfires. The consequences of regional-scale prescribed burning on pasture availability and annual carrying capacities of pastoral properties in northern Australia were examined using EcoFire, a fire management program in the Kimberley Region of north-west Australia, as an example. Theoretical long-term carrying capacities of land systems, and fire scar imagery from years before (2004–06) and during EcoFire (2007–11) were used to model the impact of the program on the seasonality and extent of fire-induced losses in annual carrying capacity, and the likelihood of properties experiencing catastrophic losses in a given year. Over the 5 years that EcoFire has been running, it has resulted in a progressive reduction in the loss of annual carrying capacity caused by the burning of pasture, and shifted the season that annual carrying capacity is lost to fire from predominantly the late to the early dry season. Most notably, the established program has reduced the probability of experiencing catastrophic loss (defined here as >50% of annual carrying capacity removed due to fire) from 18 incidences to three incidences within a 3-year period. These outcomes have the potential to deliver economic benefits to pastoralists via increased annual carrying capacity and by improvements in pasture condition, provided stocking rates and pasture utilisation are managed carefully.
Keywords Fire ecology
Grazing management
Land Management
Remote sensing
Savannah ecology
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/RJ13095   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
Description for Link Link to publisher's version
URL http://www.publish.csiro.au/?paper=RJ13095
 
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