As Tasmania Burns it is Time to Prepare and Act

Over 50 Fires are currently burning uncontrollably around Tasmania. Over the holiday weekend 23-27 January, a statewide fire ban will be declared.  High winds and hot temperatures on Friday may create potentially dangerous blow-up conditions.  For residents of Tasmania who live in bushfire-prone areas, it is important to regularly check the Tasmania Fire Service Alerts […]

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Wildfire science is at a loss for comprehensive data

In 2013, a ferocious fire destroyed a small seaside village east of Hobart, Australia, the city where I live and work as a pyrogeographer. A newspaper photograph captured the terror of the firestorm: in it, a family shelters under a jetty in surreal, smoky orange twilight. Last week, spookily similar images from Greece, where people […]

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Research and technology collide to help Tasmanians breathe easier

For most people, every breath comes without a thought. But for some, taking in the outdoor air and scenery can literally be breathtaking. Through creative work and research Associate Professor Fay Johnston and her team have created a smartphone app to help bring simplicity back to breathing for Australians with asthma, hay fever and other lung conditions. […]

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Wildfire modelling study answers burning question for the first time

For the first time, researchers at the University of Tasmania have modelled how effective certain types of prescribed burning scenarios are in reducing wildfire risk at a regional scale. In the largest simulation study of its kind, the effectiveness of a range of hypothetical prescribed burning treatments was evaluated across Tasmania over a five-year period. […]

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Unmasking the nature of fire

Professor David Bowman’s seminal 2009 paper on the role of fire in shaping Earth’s ecology has been cited well over 800 times, but as he straps his bikes on the car, preparing for another brief soiree into the Tasmanian bush, the world expert on fire ecology has no time for self-congratulation. Instead, Professor Bowman explains […]

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Future wildfire warning for Australia

University of Tasmania Professor of Environmental Change Biology David Bowman led an international collaboration – including researchers from the University of Idaho and South Dakota State University – to compile a global satellite database of the intensity of 23 million landscape fires used to identify 478 of the most extreme wildfire events. “Extreme fire events […]

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Warming climate could threaten regeneration after bushfires

Regeneration after bushfires could be compromised by climate change, new research shows. Scientists from the University of Tasmania’s School of Natural Sciences looked at how certain chemicals, produced by bushfires and crucial to stimulating new plant growth, respond to warming temperatures. In particular, researchers studied karrikins, which are among the most important group of chemicals which […]

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Mystery still surrounds origin of iconic button grass plains

Fifty years on, mystery still surrounds the origin of the iconic button grass plains of south west Tasmania. Situated across western Tasmania and occupying much of the World Heritage Area, ecologists and scientists have been divided for half a century over whether these landscapes naturally evolve or are created by fire management practices. “In 1968, […]

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Unique real-world experiment explores link between fire and herbivore activity

A real-world experiment drawing on the concept of renewal ecology to help explore the relationship between fire and herbivore activity in Tasmania’s Midlands will be carried out this month. Researchers from the University of Tasmania’s School of Natural Sciences, in collaboration with Bush Heritage Australia, will conduct a unique field experiment at Beaufront, a privately-owned […]

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