BIO331 Fire Ecology and Management (8)

Australia is the most fire-prone continent in the world, and its flora and fauna have evolved in the presence of fire over millions of years. Yet altered fire regimes imperil many species, and fire management is a critical component of conservation in Australia. This subject explores ecological aspects of fire in the Australian environment including fire as a physical disturbance (fire behaviour) and the fire regime (including timing, frequency, severity and spatial patterning). The subject explores changes in Australian fire regimes over time, from Indigenous use of fire prior to European colonisation, through to contemporary fire management (including the continuation and resumption of Indigenous fire regimes). Students will explore the ways in which plants and animals have adapted to particular fire regimes, and how changes in fire regimes affect ecosystems and the biota inhabiting them. Students will discuss current issues in fire ecology and learn how to apply ecological principles to fire management. Finally, we explore the effects of global climate change on fire regimes, and the flow on effects of changes in fire regimes on ecosystems.

No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2021.

Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Environmental Sciences

Enrolment Restrictions

Students may not enrol in this subject if they have completed BIO326.

Assumed Knowledge

BIO112 and BIO262 or BIO323 or BIO329

Incompatible Subjects


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to define and use terminology, methods and concepts common in fire ecology, and disturbance ecology in general;
  • be able to describe the key elements of fire behaviour and the fire triangle, including the relationship between weather and fire behaviour;
  • be able to discuss the characteristics used to describe fire regimes;
  • be able to discuss Indigenous Australian fire practices and the effects of cultural fire on ecosystems;
  • be able to discuss plant and animal responses to fire and the fire regime;
  • apply knowledge of key fire concepts and fire ecology to develop appropriate fire management strategies;
  • be able to develop sampling design and data collection to examine fire impacts on biota;
  • be able to describe anthropogenic climate change and its potential impacts on current and future fire regimes; and
  • be able to evaluate how fire management plans and strategies are developed, and how they need to address relevant legislation, policy frameworks and practical requirements.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Introduction to fire ecology;
  • Fire behaviour;
  • Fire regimes;
  • Indigenous Australian fire regimes;
  • Plant responses to fire;
  • Animal responses to fire;
  • Fire management;
  • Fire and climate change; and
  • Fire policy.

Residential School

This subject contains a 4 day Compulsory Residential School.

Ecological field work, monitoring plant and animal responses to fire.

Special Resources

Students attending compulsory residential schools on Charles Sturt campuses will incur costs associated with travel, accommodation and required resources.

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.