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Fire in the Australian Landscape (FRST20015)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeFRST20015
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Australian ecosystems are inextricably linked to fire and adapted to specific fire regimes. The subject explores the role of fire in contemporary Australian landscapes.

Combustion is the result of physical and chemical processes occurring at multiple scales. Students will be taught the fundamentals of combustion. This knowledge will then be extended to measuring and analysing fire behaviour at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Students will also learn the importance of climate, landscape patterns and fire feedbacks in determining the diversity of fire regimes (intensity, frequency, seasonality and extent of fires) under current and past climates.

Students will be taught the fundamentals of fire ecology and the range of approaches to managing biodiversity in flammable ecosystems.

Fire management requires consideration of a wide range of assets in the landscapes. Students will be introduced to the range of approaches to fire management, including indigenous land management, and the ability of each to protect or enhance the things communities value.

Lectures, tutorials and field trips will be used to develop and apply these skills.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the subject, students should be able to:

  • Explain the physics and chemistry of combustion.
  • Analyse the key drivers of landscape fire behaviour and fire regimes.
  • Use tools to predict the spread of landscape fires.
  • Distinguish factors affecting fire intensity, frequency, size, patchiness and seasonality.
  • Explain the ecological impacts of fire and the extent to which management can moderate them.
  • Evaluate the potential changes to fire regimes under future climates and whether these can be altered by fire management.

Generic skills

  • High level ability to synthesize and critically evaluate information from a range of sources
  • Ability to organise and evaluate quantitative data
  • High level ability to apply theory to practical problems

Last updated: 19 July 2019