30 Jan 2016

Tasmanian bushfires: the ecological impact

From This Way Up, 1:10 pm on 30 January 2016
Fire at Forcett, Tasmania in 2013

Fire at Forcett, Tasmania in 2013 Photo: Chug / Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Tasmania is burning – and the bushfires there aren't just threatening human life and property.

In 1982, UNESCO put 1.5 million hectares of the island on its World Heritage List, and it's these ancient forests, some with trees 1,000 years old, that are under threat from the fires. The forests in Tasmania connect us ecologically to the supercontinent Gondwana, which New Zealand was part of.

Simon Morton speaks with David Bowman, a professor of environmental change biology at the University of Tasmania who has been watching the bushfires and is seriously worried about their environmental impact.