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Melinda Mylek

Melinda MylekMelinda Mylek

PhD Student (affiliated)

Topic: Community perceptions about fuel modification strategies used to reduce bushfire risk to life and property

Australian National University


Melinda’s doctoral research aims to understand community perceptions about fuel-modification strategies used to reduce bushfire risk to life and property. Understanding perceptions of fuel management can help land managers develop strategies and policies that address the needs and priorities of the community. It can help them recognise when existing or proposed policies might be supported or rejected by the public, and assist the development of information campaigns designed to gain public support for strategies. Most studies examining community perceptions and social acceptance of fuel-modification strategies to date have been conducted in the USA, with little work published in Australia.

Community perceptions and attitudes about fuel modification in two or three locations in south-eastern Australia will be investigated using a quantitative postal survey as the primary source of data collection.

The study will focus on prescribed burning as a particularly controversial fuel-reduction strategy. It will also examine whether other fuel-reduction strategies such as grazing, slashing or thinning are socially acceptable, and in what circumstances. This will enable a comparison of differences in perceptions about the various fuel-reduction strategies that land managers could use, and explain how these strategies are viewed by different individuals and groups within the community.

Melinda's research contributes to the Communities project (4.3) within the 'Trees in the landscape' research program of the CRC for Forestry.