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Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research

Low intensity ground fire burning in savanna bush

The Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research (DCBR) at Charles Darwin University delivers applied fire management research and training opportunities to land managers in northern Australia, South East Asia, Africa and South America.

people in helicopter

We apply field sampling, spatial analysis and Indigenous knowledge to develop ‘savanna burning’ methods, including greenhouse gas emissions reduction and carbon sequestration.

In recent years, much of the applied research program has focused on the development of the science behind the Savanna Burning methods for calculating greenhouse gas emissions reduction and carbon sequestration. Each of these major project areas has required detailed field sampling, analysis and methods development to result in publication in the internationally peer-reviewed scientific literature.

We aim to extend fire management research and training opportunities, to land managers in north Australia and our regional neighbours. While doing so, we aim to maintain our core commitments to our current partners, especially on indigenous and conservation lands.

Specialist expertise and tech

Aerial view of savannah bushland with smoke from small scattered fires

The Centre builds on 20 years of world-class applied fire management research in collaboration with Bushfires NT, Indigenous and conservation land management groups. Our services include:

  • Development and online support of fire mapping, information and analytical tools;
  • Supporting the development of northern Australia’s fire carbon and offset policies;
  • Conducting fire management training for remote communities and stakeholders;
  • Supplying fire mapping to support rural fire management and conservation agencies;
  • Evaluating ecosystem services (ES), particularly for Indigenous and local communities;
  • Developing Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) mechanisms.

Key projects

  • Monetarily value savanna ecosystem services - water quality, land condition, biodiversity.
  • Community benefits of fire management projects in savannas and central Australian rangelands.
  • Remote sensing for measuring fire severity and patchiness in fire-prone savanna landscapes.
  • Build decentralised capacity for geospatial analysis in northern Australia and South East Asia.
  • 3D fire behaviour simulations for community engagement and strategic fire management planning.

Our team

three people looking at maps on burnt ground

Prof Jeremy Russell-Smith
Professor of Research

Jeremy is an ecologist/botanist with a particular interest in helping to achieve sustainable fire management outcomes in tropical savannas. He leads the research effort.

Mr Cameron Yates
Program Coordinator

Cameron has published and worked on the application of spatial science, to many natural resource management agendas, such as carbon, weeds, rangelands, and extensively with bushfires. His role is to manage and coordinate the activities of the Centre.

Dr Andrew Edwards
Research Fellow (Bushfires)
Andrew applies spatial sciences to pyro-geographical problems. He has been involved in the NAFI website and the Savanna Burning methodology. He has been continuing his PhD research into satellite mapping of fire severity.

Mr Jay Evans
Research Officer

Jay has undertaken extensive field survey work and burnt area mapping for a number of years since joining DCBR. He is now undertaking a PhD looking at the efficacy and cost of prescribed burning in north Australian savannas.

Dr Peter Jacklyn
Senior Research Fellow

Peter has a background in the biophysics of termite mounds, radio broadcasting, and communication. He developed and still manages the NAFI web site.

Mr Rohan Fisher
Research Fellow (Information Technology for Development)

Rohan is a spatial scientist with extensive experience in remote sensing, where he applies his skills to mapping burnt areas for the NT and Kimberley. He also develops simple and robust NRM applications for the people of Eastern Indonesia. He is now undertaking a PhD.

Dr Kamaljit Sangha
Research Fellow (Ecological Economics)

Kamal has a background in agricultural economics and has been applying those skills to the assessment of the Payment for Ecosystem Services.

Dr Patrice Weber
Researcher (Programmer)
Patrice recently undertook a Masters in Environmental Science after a long career in Geophysical Research where he completed his PhD in France and the USA. He is working with DCBR programming an updated version of Infonet (known as the Savanna Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting Framework – SMERF).

Sarah Fischer
PhD student
Sarah is studying the effect of fire and land use change on the Avian Assemblage in the Darwin region. Using Remote Sensing and GIS to map fires and land use change for the past 20 years Sarah will assess a 20 year database of 99,000 Bird records. Sarah will also look at new and innovative ways of surveying birds using UAV and bioacoustics.

More information:

Contact us if you would like to discuss our services

Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research (DCBR)
Charles Darwin University
Ellengowan Drive

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