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Perspective

Catastrophic Bushfires, Indigenous Fire Knowledge and Reframing Science in Southeast Australia

1
School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia
2
Indigenous Knowledge Institute, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia
3
Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
4
School of Culture, History & Language, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
5
School of Geography, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
6
Department of Ecosystem and Landscape Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, 1012 WX Amsterdam, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Alistair M. S. Smith and Stephen D. Fillmore
Received: 9 August 2021 / Revised: 1 September 2021 / Accepted: 3 September 2021 / Published: 9 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection Rethinking Wildland Fire Governance: A Series of Perspectives)
The catastrophic 2019/2020 Black Summer bushfires were the worst fire season in the recorded history of Southeast Australia. These bushfires were one of several recent global conflagrations across landscapes that are homelands of Indigenous peoples, homelands that were invaded and colonised by European nations over recent centuries. The subsequent suppression and cessation of Indigenous landscape management has had profound social and environmental impacts. The Black Summer bushfires have brought Indigenous cultural burning practices to the forefront as a potential management tool for mitigating climate-driven catastrophic bushfires in Australia. Here, we highlight new research that clearly demonstrates that Indigenous fire management in Southeast Australia produced radically different landscapes and fire regimes than what is presently considered “natural”. We highlight some barriers to the return of Indigenous fire management to Southeast Australian landscapes. We argue that to adequately address the potential for Indigenous fire management to inform policy and practice in managing Southeast Australian forest landscapes, scientific approaches must be decolonized and shift from post-hoc engagement with Indigenous people and perspectives to one of collaboration between Indigenous communities and scientists. View Full-Text
Keywords: Southeast Australia; fire; Indigenous fire management; climate; fuel; cultural burning; British invasion Southeast Australia; fire; Indigenous fire management; climate; fuel; cultural burning; British invasion
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MDPI and ACS Style

Fletcher, M.-S.; Romano, A.; Connor, S.; Mariani, M.; Maezumi, S.Y. Catastrophic Bushfires, Indigenous Fire Knowledge and Reframing Science in Southeast Australia. Fire 2021, 4, 61. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire4030061

AMA Style

Fletcher M-S, Romano A, Connor S, Mariani M, Maezumi SY. Catastrophic Bushfires, Indigenous Fire Knowledge and Reframing Science in Southeast Australia. Fire. 2021; 4(3):61. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire4030061

Chicago/Turabian Style

Fletcher, Michael-Shawn, Anthony Romano, Simon Connor, Michela Mariani, and Shira Yoshi Maezumi. 2021. "Catastrophic Bushfires, Indigenous Fire Knowledge and Reframing Science in Southeast Australia" Fire 4, no. 3: 61. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire4030061

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