Stories in this Theme

Brown Treecreepers are small birds that hop up the trunks of trees and are often found singly or in small family parties. The presence of Treecreepers indicates fire has been well managed.

Black-throated Finches are small birds, usually seen in flocks with other Finch species. The presence of these Finches indicates grazing pressure on pasture is light to moderate and that fire has been well managed in woodland areas.

A fire-dependent habitat

Grasslands in Cape York are being invaded by woody plants, particularly tea-tree ( Melaleuca spp.), in the absence of fires or under limited burning. The diagram above illustrates the effects of fires at different seasons on development of woody suckers.

Effect of different fire regimes on vegetation thickening in grasslands on Cape York Peninsula

Crowley G.M. (2001) "Grasslands of Cape York Peninsula - a fire-dependent habitat", in Savanna Burning—Understanding and Using Fire in Northern Australia , (eds) R. Dyer, P. Jacklyn, I. Partridge, J. Russell-Smith and R. Williams, Tropical Savannas CRC, Darwin, p.34.

Practical advice from the Bushfires Council, NT

Firebreaks or fire access trails may be either natural or man-made. Natural breaks include streams, rivers and other wet areas where fire won’t burn or areas that are naturally devoid of fuels, such as rocky outcrops or recently burnt areas.

Managed fires provide the most economical long-term solution for woody weed control. These fires kill a large proportion of fire-sensitive species (particularly mulga) and reduce the vigour of others (e.g. witchetty bush and broombush) allowing grasses to regenerate.

The Cape York Land Use Strategy is an initiative of the Queensland Government to provide a basis for public participation in planninng for the ecologically sustainable development of Cape York Peninsula.

Louise Stone has lived a colourful life.  She grew up on dairy farm on the Atherton Tablelands and has travelled Australia's east coast in horse and buggy. Louise can play almost any musical instrument she picks up, sings like a songbird and she once went on tour with Ester King from the Platters. She has a fascinating career working in Aboriginal communities in Queensland and Northern Territory, training Rangers in Conservation and Land Management. Until late last year, Louise was the Ranger Coordinator with Mapoon Land and Sea Rangers.

Can a change in attitude towards fire and its management ameliorate environmental problems in Australia’s north?

Grazing management

Cape York has management issues which are quite different to those experienced by graziers elsewhere in Northern Australia. Because many of the properties are only marginally productive, many graziers in Cape York must engage in off-farm employment such as fencing, mustering or supplying tourist facilities. It also means that there is very little capital available for property development.