David Bowman Lecture
31 July 2019
Pyrogeography and Fire Management
A public lecture by David Bowman, Professor of Pyrogeography and Fire Science, School of Natural Sciences,The University of Tasmania.
There is increasing recognition that a focus on understanding wildfire as a narrow physical phenomenon, and the associated pursuit of better predictions, is unable to stem the global epidemic of fire disasters. More holistic thinking is required by broadening the intellectual framework of wildland fire science to accommodate multiple, and sometimes competing, socio-political and biophysical perspective of fire. Pyrogeography encourages such broader thinking about landscape fire because it integrates and synthesizes insights and knowledge from intellectual domains with a stake in wildfire including, for example, the creative arts and design, humanities and cultural studies, and fundamental and applied hard and soft sciences. A pyrogeographic framework can enable transiting from the current vicious cycle of problematizing wildfire disasters to a more virtuous cycle of problem solving to achieve sustainable co-existence with fire. This is so because pyrogeography encourages ‘neural diversity’ by giving voice to difference points of view that lie outside classical fire science and fire management paradigms thereby revealing both barriers and opportunities for social and environmental adaptation to wildfire in a non-stationary climate. Pyrogeography thus creates space for innovation, fosters diversity, and provides pathways for building social capacity and capital in communities vulnerable to fire disasters.
In this public lecture, Professor Bowman will illustrate this argument with several pyrogeographic case-studies involving cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary collaborations.
Professor David Bowman holds a research chair in Pyrogeography and Fire Science in the School of Natural Sciences and is the Director of the transdisciplinary Fire Centre at the University of Tasmania. He is developing the transdisciplinary field of pyrogeography that provides a synthetic understanding of landscape burning that unites human, physical and biological dimensions of fire from the geological past into the future and spanning local to global geographic scales.
This public lecture is part of the Prescribed Burning Conference 2019 - Evidence and Policy being held at UWA from 31 July - 1 August 2019.