Researchers and students in the Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research (DCBR) incorporate fire histories, derived from satellite mapping, with ecological analyses of field observations to characterise the effects of fire regimes—frequency burnt, season burnt, fire severity—on tropical savanna habitats.
DCBR works with Indigenous ranger groups to provide tools and training to develop capacity to improve fire regimes and calculate greenhouse gas emissions.
DCBR also work with remote Indigenous communities, through the Bushfire & Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (Bushfire CRC) to investigate economic opportunities for the general development of community resilience to natural disasters.
DCBR has significant capabilities in geographic information systems, remote sensing and field surveys. The group maps the occurrence of fire via the North Australia Fire Information website. DCBR also undertake vegetation and habitat mapping to monitor and evaluate fire effects on species, habitats and emissions. With Indigenous and CSIRO colleagues, DCBR earned a Eureka Prize for Innovative Solutions to Climate Change as part of the West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement project.
The fire abatement project has led to the development of similar projects in southern Africa and Brazil.
The group has good relations with fire and emergency services agencies, conservation agencies such as the NT Department of Parks and Wildlife, and Indigenous land management groups to inform research from the bottom up.
DCBR have long term monitoring plots in the three major national parks in the Top End (Kakadu, Nitmiluk and Litchfield) that are regularly re-surveyed. Further analyses of these data and associated habitat mapping are also ongoing research programs.
PhD projects under the supervision of Dr Edwards include biomass mapping of savanna vegetation from the integration of multiple remotely sensed platforms, and a 20-year assessment of the changes to the avian assemblage in the Darwin region, mapping and assessing fire regimes, land use change and developing innovative survey techniques incorporating new technologies such as drones.