Issue 7 - 6 August 2013 enews home

CDU expands bushfires research

By Leanne Coleman


The Darwin Centre for Bushfires Research team Dr Andrew C Edwards, Cameron Yates, Professor Jeremy Russell-Smith, Mark Desailly and Jay Evans

A new centre for bushfire research at Charles Darwin University aims to extend the capacity to deliver applied fire management research and training opportunities particularly to land managers in north Australia and regional neighbours.

The Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research was established after an agreement between CDU and the Northern Territory Government’s Department of Land Resource Management (DLRM) was announced earlier in 2013.The new Darwin Centre for Bushfires Research has joined the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods (RIEL) at CDU.

RIEL Director Professor Andrew Campbell said he welcomed the expansion of research activity. “We have been working alongside the Bushfires NT Research Unit for many years,” Professor Campbell said. “There will be great benefits for conservation land management, greenhouse gas emissions abatement, bio-carbon sequestration, and payments for ecosystem services particularly on Indigenous lands where the contribution of these benefits could be greatest.”

Lead centre researcher Professor Jeremy Russell-Smith said the establishment of the centre at CDU was built on 17 years of world-class applied fire management research undertaken previously under the banner of the Bushfires Research Unit of DLRM’s rural fire management agency, Bushfires NT.

“In recent years much of the applied research program has focused on the development of the science behind savanna burning carbon emissions mitigation projects,” Professor Russell-Smith said.

“Other core activities have concerned the ongoing development of fire mapping products, such as the North Australian Fire Information website, and applied fire management and ecological applications.”

Professor Russell-Smith said the establishment of the centre at CDU would not only extend the capacity to deliver applied fire management research and training, it also would maintain core commitments to and further opportunities with current partners.

Much the centre’s research is collaborative and has been undertaken in partnership with various stakeholders including: North Australian Land and Sea Management Alliance, CSIRO, the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, the Indigenous Land Corporation, various Indigenous community and representative organisations, The Nature Conservancy in partnership particularly with the Bushfires Cooperative Research Centre, the Northern Land Council, NT Parks and Wildlife Service, and Parks Australia.