Carbon, fuels and flammability

Carbon, fuels and flammability

Knowledge of the factors that govern the ignitability and the ability of ecosystems to sustain spreading fires are critical to understanding and quantifying bushfire risks and risk mitigation. Research on vegetation characteristics such as moisture content, the arrangement, deposition and mass of leaves and twigs (i.e. fine fuel) and the overall structure and composition of vegetation is required to understand how vegetation and its biophysical determinants contribute to flammability and fire behaviour potential across landscapes. These attributes also provide knowledge about the way that the carbon storage potential of vegetation can be shaped by different fire regimes, interaction with biophysical determinants and other disturbances such as timber harvesting.

CERMB is active at the forefront of research into carbon, fuels and flammability of vegetation across NSW and national ecosystems, and the way scientific knowledge can be used to estimate, map and apply this information into policy and planning initiatives via innovative technology: e.g. remote sensing, terrestrial; LiDAR.

CERMB research on carbon, fuels and flammability also supports, augments and integrates with work undertaken by NSW Bushfire Risk Management Research Hub, WP2.

Current major projects include: Urban Interface Fuel Structure; Biophysical modelling of near surface, elevated and canopy fuels using LiDAR; Fuel consumption after wildfires and prescribed fires using LiDAR; Fuel structure for fire behaviour modelling and prediction.


  • Dr Meaghan Jenkins
  • Mr Michael Bedward
  • Dr Owen Price


  • Mr James Barker, PhD candidate; Fire severity and flammability feedbacks in SE Australian forest fire regimes.
  • Mitchell Stares, PhD candidate: Downed, dead and decayed. Coarse woody debris creation and loss dynamics in response to fire regimes and climate.

Funding: NSW Rural Fire Service