Tropical Savannas CRC
Teach Savannas Learn Savannas Savannas Windows


Fire Brings Back Country
This articles captures the significance of restoring mosaic burning practices through the innovative two-toolkit approach featured in Outback Cinema. [pdf 683.1 kb]

Fire Emissions Pathways
This diagram illustrates the difference in greenhouse emissions between early (dry season) cooler fires compared with late, hotter fires. [pps 485.0 kb]

Old Ways, New Directions Transcript
This is the transcript for the Old Ways, New Directions feature film as screened in the Outback Cinema. [pdf 684.0 kb]

Savannas and the carbon storage story
How does carbon cycling work in the tropical savannas and where is the carbon stored? How much is emitted and absorbed and are these processes changing? This article focuses on these questions which were the focus of several Tropical Savannas CRC projects. [pdf 831.5 kb]

Fire researcher, Andrew Edwards, explains how fire management has changed fire regimes from destructive (2004) to benign (2007) fires in West Arnhem Land. - 12.5 Mb

WALFA Graph and Fire Scar Maps
These primary sources of data are courtesy of WALFA researchers and the North Australian Fire Information (NAFI) website. [pps 1.5 Mb]

Fire and Biodiversity Presentation - John Woinarski
Powerpoint presented by John Woinarski at Ecology Culture Economy Fire Forum, Darwin, May 7th 2008 [pdf 1.7 Mb]

Outback Cinema

Outback Cinema


Key questions and understandings

  • Our future: how do we burn for a sustainable future?
  • What is the "two-ways of knowing" toolkit?

Traditional burning practices result in substantial carbon benefits. When the tropical savanna/open forests are not burnt periodically, massive fuel loads can build up and cause hot intensive wild fires that devastate the country.

Learners could:

  • use cause and effect diagrams to show the relationship between the seasons and traditional burning practices;
  • explain the impact of traditional indigenous fire practices identifying the ecological, social/cultural and economic benefits;
  • explain the carbon cycle highlighting the role of greenhouse gas;
  • evaluate the NT carbon trading scheme using a Plus, Minus, Interesting organiser;
  • justify the NT carbon trading scheme using scientific evidence;
  • critically reflect on the impact of Indigenous Knowledge and Western Science working together for sustainability.
  • critically evaluate the scientific evidence supporting the research as featured in Old Ways, New Directions.

Related Links

This ABC Catalyst Carbon Country story provides an update (October 2009) on the West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement project (that features in Outback Cinema) and how its emission reductions fare in the light of the Kyoto Protocol and Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

In this ABC Catalyst video, Dr Martin Parkinson discusses the challenges involved in developing a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and the  significance of savanna burning to Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.  (Dr Parkinson is Secretary of the Department of Climate Change)

West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement project provides background information about the research from the Old Ways, New Directions section.

Commonwealth Department of Climate Change website answers frequently asked questions.