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From January to March 2016, bushfires affected approximately 126,800 hectares across Tasmania. This included an estimated 1.3 per cent of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA). The 2016 firefighting effort was unprecedented and highlighted the need to consider the impact of climate change on future bushfire risk in the TWWHA.
In response to the 2016 bushfires, the Tasmanian Government committed $250,000 for the TWWHA Bushfire and Climate Change Research Project (the Research Project), to investigate the impact of climate change on the TWWHA, and to identify ways to improve how Tasmania prepares for and responds to bushfires in the TWWHA.
The Research Project utilised leading edge research from the Australian science community led by eminent researcher Dr Tony Press, Adjunct Professor with the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre. Download a copy of the Terms of Reference (PDF, 3 pages) for the project.
Dr Press provided a final report, including recommendations, to the Tasmanian Government in December 2016. Download a copy of the Final Report:
The Tasmanian Government has prepared a response to the Final Report. The response supports 13 of the recommendations, and supports in part the remaining five recommendations.
The Research Project commissioned research to examine the impact of climate change on weather-related fire risk factors in the TWWHA. This research indicates that the TWWHA is likely to experience increasing bushfire risk in the future as a result of a changing climate, including major increase in soil dryness, which will have significant implications for future fire management in the TWWHA.
Download a copy of the reports: