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2011 Indigenous – Caring for country

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 2011 Indigenous – Caring for country

West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement Partnership: a 140% success

Warddeken Land Management for WALFA partners, NT

In partnership with Jawoyn Association Aboriginal Corporation, Bawinanga Aboriginal Coporation, Mimarl and Adjumarlarl Rangers

In 1997 five indigenous land management groups began working together to develop and test a plan to address the environmentally damaging effects of late dry season wildfire on the West Arnhem Plateau. By 2006 the project attracted industry funding for its greenhouse gas abatement work and the following year won a Eureka Prize for innovative solutions to climate change. From 2006 to 2010 the indigenous partners on-ground management abated 706,956 tonnes CO2e — a 140% success against the target of 100,000 tonnes CO2e pa. WALFA’s success has inspired other indigenous groups across north Australia to work towards other regional indigenous schemes of emission abatement. WALFA is an extraordinary success. A previously intractable conservation and environmental management problem – how to assert management control over the most fire-prone landscapes on earth – has been solved.

Comments from Judges

The Judging Panel highlighted the importance of this project providing an inherent collaboration between traditional knowledge and contemporary scientific practice – a key reconnection to country and culture. They also found that they have been able to provide a model for an international issue in an innovative and local manner, and combine the provision of employment for Indigenous people through a well integrated working partnership ranging from Government, Universities and the scientific sector through to the Aboriginal Community.