In the last few years, we have witnessed extreme wildfires across our planet, increasingly affecting societies living on the interface between urban areas and forested environments. Due to climate change, wildfires in fire-prone regions, such as Australia and California, have reached unprecedented levels of intensity and socio-economic impacts. Wildfires are also on track to become the norm in what we traditionally considered ‘unusual’ places, such as the world’s wettest areas (e.g. Amazon rainforest) and the cold high latitudes environments (e.g. Siberian tundra).
This lecture provides an overview of the science behind wildfires and the pressures posed by climatic change, with some notions of fire management and cultural burning, following case-studies from across the world, with a particular focus on Australia and Indigenous fire management. The Black Summer bushfires cost the Australian economy over 100 billion dollars and burnt a total of 18 million hectares. In just one season, around 20% of Australia's Eucalyptus forests burnt down and billions of animals perished. This event has made scientists and policymakers question how post-colonial land management impacted vegetation and how we can mitigate wildfire risk in the future.
Michela Mariani is Associate Professor in the School of Geography at Nottingham University. Her current research aims to reconstruct climate- and wildfire-driven ecosystem changes across temperate and subtropical Australia.
Any questions? Find Michela on Twitter here.
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