Land of the smokey bears

To: "'Philip Veerman'" <>, "'Chris Corben'" <>, <>
Subject: Land of the smokey bears
From: "Stephen Ambrose" <>
Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2020 16:00:32 +1100

In reviewing the scientific literature, Bradshaw et al. (2018) show that Australian landscapes which are burnt too frequently, including hazard reduction burning, results in loss of biodiversity.





Stephen Ambrose

Ryde NSW


From: Birding-Aus <> On Behalf Of Philip Veerman
Sent: 9 February 2020 2:44 PM
To: 'Chris Corben' <>;
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Land of the smokey bears


About “if you just think of the loss of hollow trees, which happens as a result of ANY burning.” Yes that may well be true but can it also be the case that fires might increase the amount of available hollows in trees by damaging trees and allowing hollows to form in trees before the process of hollow formation would normally happen due to aging. Just asking……..




From: Birding-Aus [m("","birding-aus-bounces");">] On Behalf Of Chris Corben
Sent: Sunday, 9 February, 2020 2:26 PM
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Land of the smokey bears


In the USA, I have heard many people speak about the importance of regular burning to improve and protect habitats. As an Australian, this has always felt odd to me, though recently I have read some material suggesting that in the USA this view is changing. In any case, the Australian landscape is very different, even if you just think about the extreme importance of hollows in old trees for wildlife, which is far more significant in Australia than elsewhere. And Australia doesn't have Woodpeckers! I also note that in the USA, many habitats we see have been hugely modified by Native American burning, so that there is perceived value in returning it to that state, not to any prehuman state. It is a complicated mess, but at least in Australia, if you just think of the loss of hollow trees, which happens as a result of ANY burning, (not to mention hazard tree removal!), it is easy to conclude that fire needs to be thought through very carefully and not controlled by knee-jerk reactions to particular events.


Cheers, Chris.



On 2/8/2020 6:36 PM, Geoffrey Dabb wrote:

I found the below link about the now slightly contentious , perhaps outdated, Smokey Bear, an emblem of the agency in the United States that manages National Parks  -  real national parks, that is, not like our State-managed parks that are labelled ‘National’ in imitation of those Americans.  Some entertain the idea that some quite large wildfires should be allowed to burn unchecked to avoid really serious fires.  I don’t believe the ‘thinking’ in Australia has gone quite that far, but we are going to hear quite a lot about beneficial controlled fires, a subject complicated by the absence of a national agency with any responsibility in this area.

Chris Corben.
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