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.
We work with Indigenous ranger groups to provide tools and training to develop capacity to improve fire regimes and calculate greenhouse gas emissions. We also work with remote Indigenous communities, through the Bushfire & Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, to investigate economic opportunities for the development of community resilience to natural disasters generally.
The group have significant GIS, remote sensing and field survey capability, whereby we map the occurrence of fire (available publicly through the North Australia Fire Information (NAFI) web site) and undertake appropriate vegetation/habitat mapping to effectively monitor and evaluate fire effects on species, habitats and emissions (earning a Eureka Prize for “Innovative Solutions to Climate Change” as part of the West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement project, with our Indigenous and CSIRO colleagues). The fire abatement project has led to the development of similar projects in southern Africa and Brazil to date. The group has good relations with fire and emergency services agencies, conservation agencies (e.g. Parks & Wildlife) and Indigenous land management groups to inform the research from the bottom up. DCBR have long term monitoring plots in the 3 major National Parks in the Top End (Kakadu, Nitmiluk and Litchfield) that are regularly re-surveyed. Further analyses of these data and the undertaking of associated habitat mapping are also ongoing research programs.
PhD projects currently under my supervision 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 Remotely Piloted Air Systems (drones).
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