A new, large-scale research project on fire-prone heathlands

This summer has already seen some of the largest fires ever recorded in south-eastern Australia.

We’re looking forward to doing new research that helps to understand these and other fires.

To this end, in 2020 we are kicking off a new research project on Victoria’s fire-prone heathlands.

Heathlands are some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in Victoria. They contain fire-dependent species that nonetheless face threats from inappropriate fire regimes and their interactions with climate, land use and introduced species.

The Project aims to explore how fire regimes shape the resilience of plant and animal populations, and to assess the effectiveness of fire management in achieving conservation objectives.

We’ll be conducting extensive new studies on plants, mammals and birds across Victoria. This will include using field data to inform population models which, combined with fire regime simulations, will underpin the evaluation of alternative fire scenarios in Victorian heathlands.

The project includes researchers from three University of Melbourne research groups: the Biodiversity Dynamics Research Group (biodynamos), the Fire Ecology and Biodiversity group and the Bushfire Behaviour and Management group.

This new work is supported by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Victoria – through the Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting (MER) Framework.

More project updates and details coming soon – including opportunities for volunteers to contribute to biodiversity surveys.