Prestigious research award announced

By AG Staff Writer June 9, 2016
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A 10-year research project into the impacts of fire has won Parks Victoria’s Nancy Mills Science in Parks Award.

A DECADE-LONG study into how plants, animals and their habitats respond to and recover from fire has been awarded the Nancy Mills Science in Parks Award from Park Victoria.

The long-running collaborative research project is led by La Trobe and Deakin universities, and has shown that the effects of a single fire could last well over a century. The research findings to date have resulted in significant changes to the way fire and controlled burns are managed.

western pygmy possum

The research looks at how animals, plants and habitats respond to and recover from fire. (Image courtesy Parks Victoria)

Based in the Murray Sunset and Hattah-Kulkyne national parks in north-west Victoria, the project was singled out by Parks Victoria for its outstanding contribution to understanding how best to manage protected areas and their sustainability.

A number of vulnerable species will benefit from the research, including the adorable western pygmy possum, which is listed as near threatened, as well as the endangered mallee emu-wren, for which the world’s entire population is now restricted to north-west Victoria as a result of severe habitat loss from bushfires in South Australia.

“This is an incredible long-term, collaborative and quality research program that is helping to manage Australia’s unique biodiversity in our parks, including iconic, nationally threatened bird species,” said Bradley Fauteux, the Chief Executive of Parks Victoria.

“This is so important as we face increasing pressures to our natural environments from large-scale bushfires and a changing climate.”