Burning for Biodiversity Trials

The ‘Burning for Biodiversity’ trials are designed to improve our understanding of the impact of fire regimes on the biodiversity and function of ACT grassland ecosystems.

About the trials

Over a three year period, ecological burns are being undertaken across five natural temperate grassland reserves. Overall around 200 hectares of grassland will be subject to patch burning.

These burns will improve the quality of habitat for native biodiversity. The key aim of these fires is to create a landscape with a patchy structure of short, medium and tall vegetation, as this variability is known to provide the greatest benefit to grassland fauna. 
This makes these fires very different from asset protection burns, which are designed to reduce bushfire hazard in residential areas and burn off an entire area.

The first of these ecological burn trials was undertaken in October 2015.

Monitoring of the trials

The ecological burn trials are being monitored to help better understand how fire and fire seasons affect:

  • the structure and composition of grassland ground vegetation
  • grassland fauna
  • plant diversity.

Importantly, monitoring is being undertaken to inform the trial program itself, through an adaptive management approach. This allows ACT Parks and Conservation Service to apply knowledge acquired from each trial burn to successive trials conducted as part of the project.

The monitoring program will be used to build our understanding of how natural temperate grasslands in the ACT change in response to trial fire regimes. This information will be applied to improve our management practices.

Collaborators

This project is a collaboration between ACT NRM, ACT Conservation Research and ACT Parks and Conservation Service. The project is part-funded by the Australian Government National Landcare Programme.