[ASC-media] Uniquely Australian: How Indigenous and non-Indigenous People Are Working Together to Conserve the Land

MediaWise mediawise at mediawise.net.au
Wed Jan 25 22:05:24 CET 2012


26 January 2012




Uniquely Australian: How Indigenous and non-Indigenous People Are Working
Together to Conserve the Land

Indigenous Land and Water Management ­ A Special Issue of Ecological
Management & Restoration

>From the reintroduction of threatened wallabies, the return of Indigenous
peoples to their ancient homeland and the discovery of new plant species,
inspiring stories about some of Australia¹s most successful land and water
management projects reveal the conservation benefits of cross-cultural
partnerships. The projects are featured in a new special issue of Ecological
Management & Restoration
<http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1442-8903> , a
publication of the Ecological Society of Australia.


Freely available online, the papers showcase how Indigenous and
non-Indigenous Australians are working together in remote parts of central
and northern Australia to develop innovative land and sea management
projects. These projects combine indigenous and non-indigenous scientific
knowledge and methods, highlighting the seldom documented voices and the
input of indigenous peoples into conservation work.


³Successful partnerships between indigenous and non-indigenous organisations
are increasingly being formed to conserve and manage some of the most intact
and unique parts of the country such as Arnhem Land, the Great Victoria
Desert, the Queensland coast and the Kimberley,² said Dr Emilie Ens, Guest
Editor of the special issue. ³These partnerships and the lessons learnt are
documented to guide the way for enhanced cross-cultural approaches to
managing country in Australia ­ a way that is uniquely Australian.²


Indigenous people manage around 20% of the Australian continent,
contributing to a substantial proportion of Australia¹s National Reserve
System. This includes some of the most intact and biologically diverse
landscapes on the continent, lands which also have important spiritual
meaning to Indigenous people.


³Many of the papers in this issue showcase new and innovative techniques or
approaches to management and are showing how involvement in ecosystem
management is reinforcing indigenous capacity to manage their country on
their own terms,² concluded Dr Ens. ³This is not only beneficial for
environmental conservation but has ramifications for indigenous wellbeing
and cultural survival.²


One of the papers details The Nature Conservancy¹s work in monitoring
biodiversity and social outcomes from improved fire management in northern
Australia¹s tropical savannas. Improved fire management has the potential to
significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions.


³Ecological Management & Restoration is widely read and well respected in
land management circles, so it is an appropriate forum to publish this
important body of work,² said Dr James Fitzsimons, Director of Conservation
for The Nature Conservancy, which sponsored the special issue through
generous support from The Thomas Foundation.
€Synthesis: Australian approaches for managing ³country² using Indigenous
and non-Indigenous knowledge': This paper reveals how Australia is leading
the way in relation to the scale of indigenous owned and managed land . This
supports the international push for increased recognition and inclusion of
Indigenous peoples in the natural and cultural conservation effort, which
has well-known links to Indigenous health and wellbeing.

€After 80 years absence, Wuthathi people plan for the return and management
of ancestral homelands on Cape York Peninsula: Displaced from their
ancestral homelands since the late 1930s, the Wuthathi people are now
preparing for the return of their homelands as either Aboriginal freehold
land or as Aboriginal owned national park. This paper shows how the
Wuthathi, like many other Indigenous groups Australia-wide, are planning to
overcome a number of barriers to once again take up active ecological and
cultural land management of their lands.

€Cross-cultural systematic biological surveys in Australia¹s Western Desert:
Combing science and Indigenous Ecological Knowledge (IEK) surveys conducted
with the Pila Nguru (Spinifex People) in the Great Victoria Desert found a
total of 185 native plant species, three of which were new to science. Only
six of the 148 vertebrate animals recorded were introduced and many animal
names used by the Spinifex People were documented. This project reinforces
how cross-cultural surveys can not only build scientific knowledge, but
contribute to broader social goals of assisting Aboriginal people with
cross-generational transfer and documenting of IEK.

€ŒLooking after Country two-ways¹: Insights into Indigenous community-based
land management in the Southern Tanami: Reporting on a major planning
project to guide management of 10 million hectares of biologically and
culturally significant land in the Southern Tanami Region of Central
Australia, this paper demonstrates the importance of combining both
Indigenous and non-Indigenous ecological knowledge in environmental planning
and management.

€The Warru reintroduction project is a ground-breaking collaboration between
Traditional Owners, central Australian Anangu communities and scientists to
reintroduce warru (Black-footed Rock-wallaby) to Anangu lands: 22 warru
young have been successfully bred in captivity and 11 warru have been
returned to the Indigenous lands, protected by a 97 ha predator-proof
enclosure which will allow the animals to adjust to the local environment
and learn the survival skills of their ancestors, prior to being released
into the wild.



More Information: 

Dr James Fitzsimons
Director of Conservation (Australia Program)
The Nature Conservancy
0410 567 695
jfitzsimons at tnc.org <mailto:jfitzsimons at tnc.org>

About the Journal: Ecological Management & Restoration
<http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1442-8903>  aims to
bridge the gap between the ecologist's perspective and field manager's
experience. Publishing peer-reviewed articles, technical reports, news
items, reviews and letters on the science and practice of ecosystem
restoration and management, this innovative journal combines a highly
readable style with scientifically credible material.


Journal URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1442-8903
About The Sponsors: The publication was co-funded by the Australian
Government¹s Caring for our Country program and The Nature Conservancy¹s
Ecological Science Program, made possible by a generous donation from The
Thomas Foundation. Both the major sponsors of the publication, have been
working with Indigenous groups, particularly in northern Australia for a
number of years. 


The Australian Government¹s Caring for our Country program is funded through
the Natural Heritage Trust and focuses on funding Indigenous Ranger Groups
working on their own country. The Australian Government funding for Working
on Country is $243.1 million until June 2013.


The Nature Conservancy is one of the world¹s largest science-based
conservation organisations, delivering large-scale conservation projects
across Australia. The NGO is currently influencing conservation over nearly
30 million hectares of Indigenous lands across northern Australia¹s vast
savannas from the Kimberley to Cape York and Central Australia¹s arid lands.
The Nature Conservancy is working with Indigenous groups and other key
partners and has helped to protect more than 6 million hectares of lands and
waters in Australia since 2000. This includes securing 29 high priority
additions to the National Reserve System, including some of the largest
private protected areas in Australia.


To complement the issue, short summaries of a range of other successful
indigenous projects are also accessible online at
www.emrprojectsummaries.org <http://www.emrprojectsummaries.org>

About Wiley-Blackwell: Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific,
technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons,
Inc., with strengths in every major academic and professional field and
partnerships with many of the world¹s leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell
publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually
in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and
laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit
www.wileyblackwell.com <http://www.wileyblackwell.com/>  or our new online
platform, Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com
<http://www.wileyonlinelibrary.com/> ), one of the world¹s most extensive
multidisciplinary collections of online resources, covering life, health,
social and physical sciences, and humanities.


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