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    ABSTRACT

New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2008) 53(3): 23–26
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Feature article
The role of research in managing forest and rural fire risk

Stuart A.J. Anderson 1 and H. Grant Pearce 2

1 Scion, Rural Fire Research Group, Christchurch
2 Scion, Rural Fire Research Group, Christchurch

Research into rural fire behaviour and management in New Zealand is largely carried out by Scion’s Rural Fire Research Group, based in Christchurch. A major research focus since the programme’s inception in 1992 has been to develop and validate the New Zealand Fire Danger Rating System (NZFDRS). The NZFDRS incorporates effects of the environment (fuels, weather and topography) on fire behaviour and provides a tool for reliable fire management based on sound science. The development and structure of the NZFDRS is described in Fogarty et al. (1998) and Anderson (2005, 2006). Other fire research carried out by Scion covers fire climate and weather, social science and firefighter safety and physiology. The research Group is funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (Contract C04X0403) and a rural fire sector “collaborative” that includes the NZ Fire Service Commission and National Rural Fire Authority, NZ Forest Owners Association, Department of Conservation, NZ Defence Force, Territorial and Local Authorities and Federated Farmers of New Zealand. Research collaborators within New Zealand include NIWA, Landcare Research and the University of Canterbury. New Zealand is also a core member of the Australian Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (CRC)2, a major bushfire research initiative bringing together Australasian fire researchers and practitioners. Scion scientists are actively involved in research projects in close collaboration with their Australian counterparts, focussing on fire behaviour in scrub vegetation (Scion 2008a), grassland fire hazard assessment (Bushfire CRC 2006), and social (community resilience) (Langer 2005) and firefighter safety research (Parker et al. 2008).
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