Australia — A north Australian fire scientist says a change in how the burning of native vegetation is undertaken could halve the Northern Territory’s greenhouse gas emissions within four years.
Dr Jeremy Russell-Smith of the Tropical Savanna’s CRC is concerned that a national carbon trading scheme could call for major reductions in savanna burning.
Wildfires contribute around 30 per cent of the Territory’s carbon emissions, but earlier managed burn offs, straight after the wet season, are less polluting.
Dr Russell-Smith says his research with Indigenous rangers in western Arnhem Land suggests planned fires, when burn-off loads are lighter, can be used to slash emissions, and could do so within four years.
“We would be very confident on the basis of what’s happened in the western Arnhem Land experience that that sort of thing can be applied more generally at broader landscape scales.
“[We can] reduce emissions maybe as much as 50 per cent.”
He wants land managers to work together to reduce emissions through planned burns.
“It could include national parks, it could include Indigenous lands, pastoral lands, all working together.”