High up in the hills of Sheffield, Harold Riley uses firestick cultivation to manage the land his ancestor Dolly Dalrymple bought.
Mr Riley joins speakers from around the state to discuss this method of land management as part of a BOFA Film Festival action session on Sunday at TasTAFE, Launceston.
Filmmaker Roger Scholes contracted Mr Riley to work on his film The Tale of Ruby Rose, which was shot at the Walls of Jerusalem.
The idea for the session came from a conversation between the two men, both of whom are passionate about firestick conservation.
Mr Riley said there were many benefits to using cool burning to manage Tasmanian highlands and World Heritage Parks, such as reducing wildfires and fuel.
“It’s what the Aborigines did before European settlement, but very little has been done over the past 40 years, which has created lots of fuel,” Mr Riley said.
“Wildfires starve if there’s no fuel,” he said.
The change in the highland’s vegetation has meant native animals have moved downwards in search of better food.
When they found better food there was a “breeding explosion”, which is why we have so many animals dying on our roads, Mr Riley said.
“There are wallabies now where there wasn’t any,” he said.
Mr Scholes said he had shared many conversations with Mr Riley on how land could be managed using time-honoured practices.
“[Harold Riley] grew up managing high country grasslands and open woodlands using early spring ‘cool burn mosaic firestick burning’ to protect against lightning wildfires and continue the renewal of mixed species grasslands,” Mr Scholes said.
Since the National and World Heritage Parks were created much of the grassland mix, that was previously cultivated for thousands of years, has disappeared.
“He remains concerned about the single dominant species take over of ancient grasslands after the cessation of cool burning practices,” Mr Scholes said.
Professors Henry Reynolds and David Bowman, Paul Black, Andry Sculthorpe, Clyde Mansell, Vica Bailey and Leigh Walters make up the panel, with moderation by Polly McGee.