Satellites to monitor bushfire-affected mammals

Satellites to monitor bushfire-affected mammals

22 August 2006

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Australia — Satellite technology will be used in a new research project to determine how bushfires are affecting populations of mammals in the Kimberley, in the Western Australia’s north.

The joint project by the Department of Environment and Conservation and the CSIRO will compare populations in areas which are burnt each year to regions where fire is uncommon.

It is estimated about 50 per cent of the Kimberley is being burnt each year and this is leading to declining numbers of smaller mammals.

The department’s Ian Radford says the satellite technology will be used to identify the areas being burnt regularly.

“What we’ll be hoping to produce is basically recommendations on how to manage that country to improve the fire regimes generally,” Mr Radford said.

“So that the mammals can increase in abundance and actually improve their status – make them a more robust system if you like.

“We will be going to those areas and we will be looking at the plants and particularly the animals and particularly the invertebrates which is the base of the food chain in those tropical eco-systems and looking at the status of those things in relation to mammalpopulations.”


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