Policy & Management Program

Bushfire in the Kedumba Valley of the Blue Mountains, May 2018. Credit: Keris Macarthur

Bushfire in the Kedumba Valley of the Blue Mountains, May 2018. Credit: Keris Macarthur

Current Projects

As the impacts of climate change intensify, and incidence of wildfires increases, as we have seen with the catastrophic bushfires that swept through the Blue Mountains in 1957 and again 2013, bushfire awareness and preparedness is a key focus for the Institute’s policy and management program.

Fire Stories

Over the past five years the Institute has worked in partnership with the NSW Rural Fire Service, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and Blue Mountains City Council to produce a series of Fire Stories documentaries: Fire Stories: A Lesson in Time in 2013, and Fire Stories: Living with Risk in 2017. These films explored the impacts of catastrophic bushfires on the Blue Mountains communities of Leura in 1957, and of Yellow Rock and Winmalee in 2013, respectively.

Laura Zusters, Director of Fire Stories: Living with Risk with Fran Elston, a participant in the film.

Laura Zusters, Director of Fire Stories: Living with Risk with Fran Elston, a participant in the film.

After the success of the first two films, a third Fire Stories documentary is being planned, to focus on the way in which fire authorities manage bushfire events and risk.

bLUE MOUNTAINS UPLAND SWAMPS

In 2018, the Institute established a research project to investigate the ecological importance and water storage functions of the Blue Mountains Upland Swamps, which are listed as a vulnerable ecological community under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act. Evidence from our 2009 research project (funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grant), documents how these swamps could be severely impacted by climate change, urban development and mining.  

A new project is being developed in conjunction with partner agencies the Blue Mountains City Council, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, and research specialists at the Universities of Western Sydney, Macquarie and New South Wales. This project will focus on development of a monitoring and adaptive management program in relation to Upland Swamps in the Blue Mountains region.

Completed Projects

2018. Yancheng International Symposium on the Conservation and Management of the Intertidal Wetlands of the Yellow and Bohai Seas

2017. Documentary - Fire Stories: Living with Risk

2015. Charishma Ratnam. Honours research thesis. Placing Home: How assemblages of place through mobility, materiality and nature, affect attachment and risk in the Blue Mountains. University of NSW Sydney, School of Humanities

2016. Capertee Regeneration Project

2013. Documentary - Fire Stories: A Lesson in Time

2012 Phytophthora research project and Forum (Zoe-Joy Newby PhD University of Sydney & Botanic Gardens)

2010. Sustainable agri-industrial projects neighbouring the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Funded by the Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC)

2007-2009. Managing ecosystem change in the GBMWHA. ARC Linkage grant LP0774833.

2007. The Grose Valley Fire Forum

2006. ANZSYS Conference.“Sustaining our Social and Natural Capital”. Blue Mountains.

Research Papers & Reports

2019. Z.Newby, R.J.Murphy, D.I.Guest, D.Ramp & E.C.Y Liew. (BMWHI top-up scholarship) Detecting symptoms of Phytophthora cinnamomi infection in Australian native vegetation using reflectance spectrometry: complex effects of water stress and species susceptibility. Australasian Plant Pathology. (download pdf)

2017. Chapple, R.S., Blignault, I. and Fitzgerald, A. 2017. Communicating bushfire risk in the Blue Mountains of Australia: A case study of the ‘Fire Stories’ film. Aust. J. Emergency Mgmt. 32 (3): 58-66. https://ajem.infoservices.com.au/items/AJEM-32-03-22 (download pdf)

Ratnam, C., Drozdzewski , D. and Chapple, R. 2016. Can place attachment mediate perceptions of bushfire risk? A case study of the Blue Mountains, NSW. Aust. J. Emergency Mgmt. 31 (4) (download pdf)

2017. Baumber A et al. Enhancing seedling survival on former floodplain grazing land in the Capertee Valley, Australia. Ecological Management & Restoration 18(3):253-256 DOI: 10.1111/emr.12273

2014. Chapple, R. Bushfire risk communication in the Blue Mountains. Presentation: Preparedness and recovery from disaster in protected areas. IUCN World Parks Congress, Sydney.

2014. Zoe Joy Newby. PhD thesis.(BMWHI top-up scholarship) Quantification of the risk of Phytophthora dieback in The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area. University of Sydney & Botanic Gardens.

2013. The need for a strong Blue Mountains Local Environment Plan to safeguard the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Blue Mountains City Council.

2011. Chapple, R.S., Ramp, D.R., Kingsford, R.T., Merson, J.A., Bradstock, R.A., Mulley, R.C. and Auld, T. Integrating science into management of ecosystems in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, Australia. Env. Mgmt. 48 (4): 659-674. (download pdf)

2010. Ramp D, Chapple R. Managing for ecosystem change in the GBMWHA. ARC Linkage grant LP0774833. Final report.

2010. Merson, J., Attwater, R., Ampt, P., Wildman, H. and Chapple, R. Sustainable agri-industrial projects neighbouring the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 8 (1&2): 72-85.

2009. Merson, J., Attwater, R., Booth, S., Mulley, R., Ampt, P., Wildman,H., Nugent,M., Hooper,S., Campbell,M. and Chapple,R. Urban Expansion and Sensitive Environments: Assessing the role of agri-industries as landscape buffers to the neighbouring Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. RIRDC Publication No. 09/025. RIRDC Project No UNS-18A. 114 pp

2009. Merson, J., Attwater, R., Booth, S., Mulley, R., Ampt, P., Wildman,H., Nugent,M., Hooper,S., Campbell,M. and Chapple,R. Urban Expansion and Sensitive Environments: Assessing the role of agri-industries as landscape buffers to the neighbouring Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. RIRDC Publication No. 09/025. RIRDC Project No UNS-18A. 114 pp.

2007. Chapple, R.S. and Booth, S. 2007. The Grose Valley Fire Forum. Workshop report and action plan prepared for the NSW Minister for the Environment. (download pdf)