Fire management for biodiversity conservation: Key research questions and our capacity to answer them

Driscoll, Don A., Lindenmayer, David B., Bennett, Andrew F., Bode, Michael, Bradstock, Ross A., Cary, Geoffrey J., Clarke, Michael F., Dexter, Nick, Fensham, Rod, Friend, Gordon, Gill, Malcolm, James, Stewart, Kay, Geoff, Keith, David A., MacGregor, Christopher, Russell-Smith, Jeremy, Salt, David, Watson, James E. M., Williams, Richard J. and York, Alan (2010) Fire management for biodiversity conservation: Key research questions and our capacity to answer them. Biological Conservation, 143 9: 1928-1939. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2010.05.026

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Author Driscoll, Don A.
Lindenmayer, David B.
Bennett, Andrew F.
Bode, Michael
Bradstock, Ross A.
Cary, Geoffrey J.
Clarke, Michael F.
Dexter, Nick
Fensham, Rod
Friend, Gordon
Gill, Malcolm
James, Stewart
Kay, Geoff
Keith, David A.
MacGregor, Christopher
Russell-Smith, Jeremy
Salt, David
Watson, James E. M.
Williams, Richard J.
York, Alan
Title Fire management for biodiversity conservation: Key research questions and our capacity to answer them
Journal name Biological Conservation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-3207
Publication date 2010-09
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2010.05.026
Volume 143
Issue 9
Start page 1928
End page 1939
Total pages 12
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject C1
960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
960504 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments
050209 Natural Resource Management
Abstract Knowing how species respond to fire regimes is essential for ecologically sustainable management. This axiom raises two important questions: (1) what knowledge is the most important to develop and (2) to what extent can current research methods deliver that knowledge? We identify three areas of required knowledge: (i) a mechanistic understanding of species’ responses to fire regimes; (ii) knowledge of how the spatial and temporal arrangement of fires influences the biota; and (iii) an understanding of interactions of fire regimes with other processes. We review the capacity of empirical research to address these knowledge gaps, and reveal many limitations. Manipulative experiments are limited by the number and scope of treatments that can be applied, natural experiments are limited by treatment availability and confounding factors, and longitudinal studies are difficult to maintain, particularly due to unplanned disturbance events. Simulation modelling is limited by the quality of the underlying empirical data and by uncertainty in how well model structure represents reality. Due to the constraints on large-scale, long-term research, the potential for management experiments to inform adaptive management is limited. Rather than simply recommending adaptive management, we define a research agenda to maximise the rate of learning in this difficult field. This includes measuring responses at a species level, building capacity to implement natural experiments, undertaking simulation modelling, and judicious application of experimental approaches. Developing ecologically sustainable fire management practices will require sustained research effort and a sophisticated research agenda based on carefully targeting appropriate methods to address critical management questions. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Keyword Planned burn
Prescribed fire
Policy implications
Management actions
Population viability analysis
South-eastern Australia
Ground-dwelling mammals
Plant functional types
Vegetation dynamics
Tropical savannas
Tallgrass prairie
African savanna
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Review

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
Ecology Centre Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 133 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 147 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 05 Sep 2010, 00:08:26 EST