Savanna fire management and bushfire and natural hazard scenario planning for northern Australia annual project report part two: managing flammable high biomass grassy weeds
|Title||Savanna fire management and bushfire and natural hazard scenario planning for northern Australia annual project report part two: managing flammable high biomass grassy weeds|
|Year of Publication||2018|
|Authors||Setterfield, SA, Rossiter-Rachor, N|
|Institution||Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC|
High biomass, introduced grasses are invading savanna ecosystems across northern Australia. At high densities, they alter fire behavior and fire regimes. The Managing flammable high biomass grassy weeds activity is a subcomponent of the Savanna fire management and bushfire & natural hazards scenario planning for northern Australia project. Commencing in July 2016, the project aims to assess change that occurs following invasion by high biomass grasses. We determined a list of priority high-biomass grass species for more detailed assessment based on their current distribution and predicted area suitable for establishment. The impact on fire regimes following invasion of these species will be determined by their fuel characteristics. We have therefore commenced field and laboratory work quantifying changes in fuel flammability. Samples of a range of species have been collected in the NT and QLD for flammability analysis. Characterising patterns of fuel curing has commenced, and shown that, for example, gamba grass has much higher (55% higher) moisture content and lower curing than native grasses, but can sustain higher intensity fires due to other flammability characteristics. The impact of the more intense fires is of high relevance for stakeholders aiming to quantify risk and invest in mitigation efforts. Therefore, the project has commenced collation of data on the social, economic and environmental consequences of invasion, and undertaken extensive stakeholder engagement activities in northern Australia.