2012 Land and Biodiversity – Preserving Our Ecosystems
The I-Tracker Initiative: New tools and Knowledge for Better Conservation
North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd., NT
I-Tracker is a revolutionary approach for land and biodiversity management and monitoring by Indigenous Rangers. From its beginnings as part of the award-winning Dugong and Marine Turtle Project, I-Tracker has grown to encompass thirty-eight ranger groups across northern Australia. Rugged touch screen devices empower local rangers by putting customised data collection software directly in their hands. Whereas, the I-Tracker network based at NAILSMA provides ongoing development, support, training, and idea exchange. By using the highly acclaimed CyberTracker software, I-Tracker links Indigenous Australian rangers into an international network of practitioners and supporters. With growing ownership of land by indigenous people, over 36 million ha of conserved land in Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs), and substantial investment by communities and government in Indigenous rangers, the development of new tools and systems to support indigenous conservation and land management efforts is essential to the success of biodiversity conservation across much of Australia. As the northern hub of the Australian Government’s National CyberTracker network, and a partner with over fifteen organisations and government departments, NAILSMA’s I-Tracker project leads the way in Indigenous conservation and land management in Australia.
Comments from Judges
An excellent use of modern technology and a great way to have indigenous land managers involved. It can be applied across a range of biodiversity monitoring projects across a large geographical region, rather than a single species or area. It has transformed the collection or environmental information and the management of environmental and biosecurity issues across the top end of Australia. Most importantly, it has been embraced by Indigenous communities and could be adapted to be used by any community.