Australia fires ‘do not make case’ for controlled burns of UK moors

Peatland campaigners have heavily criticised claims that devastating wildfires in Australia show the importance of controlled moorland burning in the UK.

The Moorland Association said last week that traditional “cool burning” in dry forest by Australia’s indigenous communities “shares much with the land management practices traditionally used by gamekeepers to manage our UK moorlands”, making them less susceptible to wildfires. 

However, the UK branch of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has cast doubt on those claims. 

“Scientific opinion as to the pros and cons of managed burning continues to be divided, in part due to limited research available, but in the confusion, we risk missing the bigger picture,” the group said in a statement published on Friday. 

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