Aboriginal Fire Regimes: Implications for Today’s Bushfire and Land Management Practices
Australia’s recent bushfires and their impact on people and the natural environment have resulted in calls for Aboriginal burning practices to be more widely used to reduce fuel loads.
The problem is that few people know the details of how Aboriginal people used fire over the 50,000 or more years prior to the arrival of Europeans.
If we are to apply Aboriginal fire management to areas of remnant bushland and forests, we need to know how it was carried out in the past and what goals we are hoping to achieve through its use.
Busselton Naturalists Club president Bernie Masters is a zoologist and environmental consultant who has taken a keen interest over many years in the science and history of Aboriginal use of fire.
He is the guest speaker at the Club’s next meeting on Thursday March 12 in the Lesser Hall of the Busselton Senior Citizens Centre at 22 Peel Terrace.
Bernie will summarise the many fire-related records of the early explorers and settlers which showed Aboriginal people using fire for a wide range of purposes but only in parts of the landscape where they found useful resources.
He will also address the controversial issue of fire scars on the trunks of Xanthorrhoea and Kingia plants (commonly known as grass trees, Balgas, blackboys, etc) which show how Aboriginal people used fire in logical ways consistent with their knowledge of their environment.
For people interested in Aboriginal burning practices, Bill Gammage’s book “The Biggest Estate On Earth” is recommended as the best general source of information.
The meeting starts at 7.30pm, is open to the public and is free of charge, although a gold coin donation to help cover meeting costs will be appreciated.