Territory Stories

Desert fire : fire and regional land management in the arid landscapes of Australia



Desert fire : fire and regional land management in the arid landscapes of Australia

Other title

edited by GP Edwards and GE Allan


Edwards, Glenn P; Allan, G. E.


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT; DKCRC Report 37




Date:2009; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).

Table of contents

Executive summary -- 1. Introduction and overview of Desert Fire -- 2. Managing fire in the southern Tanami Desert -- 3. Aboriginal burning issues in the southern Tanami: towards understanding tradition-based fire knowledge in a contemporary context -- 4. Pastoralists’ perspectives on the costs of widespread fires in the pastoral lands of the southern Northern Territory region of central Australia, 2000–02 -- 5. A review of fire management on central Australian conservation reserves: towards best practice -- 6. The fire history of Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve 1984–2005.




Fire Management -- Australia, Central

Publisher name

Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre

Place of publication

Alice Springs


DKCRC Report 37


iii, 338 p. : col. ill. ; 30 cm.

File type



1741581125; 1741581109





Copyright owner

Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

Desert Knowledge CRC29 Desert Fire: f i re and regional land management in the ar id landscapes of Austral ia Ch : A review of fire management on central Australian conservation reserves: towards best practice pp. 20908 Current understanding of fire-tolerant and fire-sensitive vegetation is still strongly influenced by the work of Peter Latz in the 1990s (categorising species as fire-sensitive and an associated list of indicator species for fire-sensitive communities). Latzs lists were based on many years of field observation and quadrats in long-unburnt areas with a diverse suite of woody species. Much of the data in the Ecological Attributes of NT Plants Database was from observations by Latz. In fact, relatively little of the data in that database is from quantitative ecological studies. There has been some debate about whether species with edible fruits dispersed by birds should be included as indicators of fire-sensitive communities (as discussed, hence listed separately here). Another area of debate concerns the best way to categorise fast-maturing obligate seeders. Because they can produce seeds quickly (within a few years) many such obligate-seeding shrubs tolerate regimes of frequent or hot fire. Here we list some such species as fire-tolerant, based on opinion about their persistence in spinifex-dominated landscapes with frequent fire (e.g. fire frequencies of about 1 in 5 to 1 in 20 years). This is based on general observations pertaining to age to reproductive maturity since there are so few data. Also, age to maturity will vary with edaphic factors and rainfall. Another difficulty relates to variation in re-sprouting capacity with age. Many species are more likely to be killed if burnt when juvenile or when very old. In the same way, some species re-sprout when soil moisture is good but otherwise do not. Many species were observed to re-sprout following fires in 2001 and 2002 which did not re-sprout following extensive fires in 1975 and 1976 (observations by Peter Latz and Des Nelson, Peter Latz pers. comm. 2007). Many of the 200102 fires were in winterearly summer, whereas those of the mid-70s were in mid- to late summer when soils may have been drier.

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