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Autumn Research Forum: April 20, 2017

On April 20, 111 people gathered in the auditorium at the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens to attend a SEQFBC Fire Research Forum.  The aim of these events is to showcase applied fire ecology and management research, and onground projects, from SEQ and other parts of Australia and connect fire science with onground practice and people.  The keynote speaker was Dr Liz Tasker, Principal Scientist Fire Ecology in the Science Division of the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage.  Liz spoke about “Vegetation change over four decades associated with reduced fire frequency in the Border Ranges: loss of grassy forests and associated decline of the endangered Eastern Bristlebird”.  Second speaker, fire ecologist Andy Baker (Southern Cross University) also spoke about the ecological consequences of a lack of fire during his talk entitled “Fire exclusion: an emerging threatening process in Subtropical Eastern Australia”.  The forum highlighted the work of SEQFBC Research Student Scholarship Recipients, Brooke Williams (awarded a 1st Class Honours from the University of Queensland in 2016) - “Fire for biodiversity conservation and asset protection” and PhD candidate Orpheus Butler (Griffith University) - “Fire, carbon/nitrogen cycling within soils”.  Once again attendees represented key stakeholders and organisations from across the region (e.g. QFES, QPWS, SEQ Water, DNRM, local government, research institutions, students) and feedback was very positive, with 72% of people rating the forum as “very good” when compared with other similar events they have attended and as illustrated by these comments: “I found it useful and interesting, the concepts around ecological impacts associated with burn frequencies and how that may align with our current vegetation maintenance cycles” and “Great forum as always provides a rare opportunity to meet with other land managers & researchers in this field”.

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