DEPI defends burn research

THE Department of Environment and Primary Industries says it is doing sufficient research into biodiversity on land undergoing planned burns.

The Bendigo Field Naturalists Club has said the DEPI is not doing enough to investigate the impact of burns on flora, fauna and soil.

But a DEPI spokeswoman said this week there were 22 pre- and post-burn flora monitoring sites in the Murray Goldfields area. 

“The research is looking at the short and long-term impacts of planned burns and how planned burning should be managed in the future for example the appropriate frequency, intensity, extent and season of fire,” she said.

“We have also partnered with Deakin University and Parks Victoria to carry out a research project in the box ironbark forests of the Heathcote Greytown area. 

“This project commenced in 2010 and will measure the forests’ responses to two different fire intensities applied over different seasons.

“We’re also supporting some focused PhD projects within the box ironbark forests. 

“One is looking at the interactions between burning and woodland birds, another at small forest mammals one looking at the impacts on orchids.”

The spokeswoman said the department used these studies to determine both the negative and positive impact of burns on the region’s vegetation and animals. “The department is looking for the best science, and gathering data to inform us of the impacts of planned burning on biodiversity values,” she said.

“This information, combined with local knowledge, informs decisions about where and when to carry out planned burns and how to reduce the impact of burns on the bush.”

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