Perceptions of Prescribed Burning in a Local Forest Community in Victoria, Australia

Classify & Cross-ref
Basic Wildfire Awareness
Ecology and Biodiversity
TitlePerceptions of Prescribed Burning in a Local Forest Community in Victoria, Australia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsBell, T, Oliveras, I
JournalEnvironmental Management
Pagination867 - 878
Date Published11/2006
AbstractThe general perceptions of prescribed burning were elicited from forest users for an area that has been subject to this form of land management for at least 20 years. The largest group consisted of local residents living in and around the Wombat State Forest with two smaller groups of students from a nearby university campus and local professional land managers. A questionnaire was given to each participant in order to explore how the forest was used, to determine the level of knowledge of burning in the targeted forest and Victoria and the perception of the appearance, effectiveness of protection, and accessibility to the forest after prescribed burning. Generally all groups had similar responses with community members having stronger views on the effectiveness and practicalities of prescribed burning, whereas students were more neutral in their opinions. All participants claimed knowledge of prescribed burning activities within Victoria, but fewer had experience of planned fires in the Wombat State Forest. All groups agreed that areas that had not been recently burned had a better appearance than those that had, but this result may have included a range of value judgments. Land managers had a greater understanding of the ecological importance of season and timing of burning; however, some students and community members were equally knowledgeable. Prescribed burning did not impede access to the forest, nor did smoke from prescribed burns pose any great problem. The majority of the participants felt that the amount of prescribed burning done in the forest was adequate for engendering a feeling of protection to life and property, yet many were still suspicious of this management practice. These initial findings indicate several areas in which further research would be useful including the efficacy of education programs for community members and improved communication of burn plans by land managers.
Short TitleEnvironmental Management
Refereed DesignationRefereed