Indigenous people’s knowledge of fire is an integral part of Indigenous land management and decision-making systems. Indigenous communities are applying, adapting and rejuvenating Indigenous knowledge to guide landscape burning through a range of land management partnerships, activities and on-country enterprises across Australia.
This year a Hub project reviewed how Indigenous knowledge has been used in northern Australian fire projects in order to inform protocols to guide Indigenous fire management partners in their efforts to deliver environmental and cultural resource management, and carbon abatement, programs.
“As Indigenous landscape burning partnerships and activities continue to mature it’s timely to consider the range of factors needed to develop and sustain these efforts,” Project Leader Dr Cathy Robinson from CSIRO said.
“Protocols for Indigenous fire management partners are important to guide the Indigenous and scientific evidence-base, and the partnership and management efforts that underpin prescribed fire management programs.”
The researchers undertook a literature review and a series of activities to investigate perspectives from fire program practitioners, partners, stakeholders and resource providers. These activities included individual and small group interviews, focus groups, regional workshops, and a national fire forum.
“The protection of Indigenous people’s intellectual and cultural rights, and provision for multiple benefits delivered from Indigenous landscape burning activities, are the starting point for effective fire management, and cultural and customary institutions need to be strong to pass on fire knowledge appropriately”, Dr Robinson explained.
“Partnerships that support Traditional Owners across all these aspects of Indigenous fire knowledge and landscape burning activities can produce multiple benefits – environmental, economic, cultural and well-being – in addition to maintaining healthy country”
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