The 2019–20 bushfires have been extensive and – in some areas – of very high severity. Many threatened species have had most of their distributions burnt,
and fire is likely to have imperilled many species not previously considered threatened. One of the post-fire challenges to population recovery that
many native species will face is increased risk of predation, including by introduced foxes and cats. Some hub researchers have worked in detail on
the interactions between fire and predation by cats and foxes: John Woinarski, Sarah Legge, Hugh McGregor, Bronwyn Hradsky, Chris Dickman and Tida Nou describe
these interactions and discuss options for their management in these complex and challenging circumstances.
Along with other concerned conservation biologists, researchers from the Threatened Species Recovery Hub have developed a “blueprint” for management responses to the 2019–20 fires. It is hoped that the blueprint will provide valuable evidence-based guidance to a wide range of individual agencies, conservation NGOs and other groups.
Chris Dickman, Don Driscoll, Stephen Garnett, David Keith, Sarah Legge, David Lindenmayer, Martine Maron, April Reside, Euan Ritchie, James Watson, Brendan Wintle, John Woinarski (2020) After the catastrophe: A blueprint for a conservation response to large-scale ecological disaster , Threatened Species Recovery Hub, January 2020.
Top image: Bushfire affected area in a Queensland state forest. Jaana Dielenberg
Parasites are taking a heavy toll on the chicks of Tasmania’s endangered forty-spotted pardalote, but with a helping hand from science these tiny birds can ‘fumigate’ their own nests.
Northern Australia’s mammals have suffered catastrophic declines over the last 30 years. A major new study has found that protecting and recovering habitat by improving fire management and reducing feral cattle, horses and buffaloes is the best approach to address the crisis.
Fire is a complex, important and pervasive ingredient in the ecology of Australia. It destroys life but brings renewal. Professor John Woinarski of Charles Darwin University discusses the catastrophic losses of the 2019–20 fires, and how we can move on from mourning to action that can limit such future devastation.
Clare is a Biodiversity Field Officer with the Australian National University’s Sustainable Farms project. She tells us how she came to this role after an early life on farms in the UK, some bullet-dodging and globe-trotting.
The box gum grassy woodlands once stretched across south-eastern Australia, but have been reduced to less than 5% of their former extent. Holly Vuong speaks with Ann Kristin Raymer and Heather Keith of The Australian National University (ANU) about their new research, part of ANU’s Sustainable Farms, on developing ecosystem accounts for the woodlands to understand why this threatened ecological community is so valuable.