Contemporary Aboriginal savanna burning projects in Arnhem Land: A regional description and analysis of the fire management aspirations of Traditional Owners

Jennifer Ansell, Jay Evans, Adjumarllarl Rangers, Arafura Swamp Rangers, Djelk Rangers, Jawoyn Rangers, Mimal Rangers, Numbulwar Numburindi Rangers, Warddeken Rangers, Yirralka Rangers, Yugul Mangi Rangers

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    Abstract

    The growth of the carbon industry in Australia over the last decade has seen an increase in the number of eligible offsets projects utilising the savanna burning methods in northern Australia. Many of these projects are operated by Aboriginal people on Aboriginal lands utilising local Aboriginal knowledge and customary burning practice. The present paper reviews existing land management planning documents to describe the aspirations of Traditional Owners in relation to fire management at a regional scale in Arnhem Land. Available data collected in the course of savanna burning operations are then utilised to examine the extent to which the savanna burning projects are meeting these goals. There were six clear goals in relation to fire management within the planning documents across Arnhem Land. Traditional Owners want to: (1) continue the healthy fire management of their country; (2) see fewer wildfires; (3) protect biodiversity; (4) protect culturally important sites; (5) maintain and transfer knowledge; and (6) create a carbon abatement. The results from this paper suggest that although the savanna burning projects are annually variable, these goals are being met. Importantly, the present paper clearly communicates a description of contemporary fire management from the perspective of Traditional Owners at a broad regional scale.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)371-385
    Number of pages15
    JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
    Volume29
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2019

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