Dr. Rebecca Harris

Panel Member - Fire In The Tas Landscape

Bec is a Climate Impact Scientist and Lecturer in Climatology at the University of Tasmania. Her research integrates climate science with ecological knowledge to contribute to landscape management decisions that are necessary to adapt to climate change. Recently her research has focused on the impact of climate variability and extreme events on natural ecosystems. This research has been applied to emergency services (bushfire preparedness), agriculture (biosecurity, viticulture), conservation management and adaptation in the wine and ski industries. She iscurrently working on projects assessing the impact of a changing climate on fuel loads, fire danger and prescribed burning in Tasmania. She is a lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, Working Group II.

What I can contribute to the panel discussion: -

I have been part of the research team, Climate Futures, responsible for much of the modelling of future fire danger in Tasmania. Our work has highlighted the changes that are expected for Tasmania under ongoing climate change, which include increased fire danger, longer and earlier fire seasons, shifts in vegetation and flammability and more frequent lightning ignitions. All of these changes are already occurring, and have important implications for fire management, in particular our ability to rely on prescribed burning to manage fuel loads across the landscape.