Bininj/Mungguy healthy country indicators

As in other protected areas around Australia, staff and Traditional Owners in Kakadu National Park are committed to working together to protect the health of important values on their country. However, information is limited on how to jointly assess the health of country to guide effective co-management activities. To care for important areas, cross-cultural monitoring and evaluation frameworks need to be co-designed and trialled with Indigenous partners to develop appropriate measures of success, data sharing processes and methods for identifying priority management actions.

Bininj/Mungguy Traditional Owners have led the co-design of this research project through their Steering Committee. The project will develop and trial an adaptive approach to co-management using Bininj/Mungguy indicators to monitor and evaluate the health of important values on country. These indicators will be used to empower Bininj/Mungguy to monitor and evaluate if and how natural resource management objectives in Kakadu are being met.

The work will focus on three pilot sites representing woodland, floodplain and stone country of Kakadu. At each pilot site, Bininj/Mungguy co-researchers, Rangers and the research team will engage in an action-learning process of adaptive co-management. This will involve co-developing indicators that can be used to illustrate the health of important values on country, and methods for monitoring those indicators. The team will also determine on-ground actions at each site and monitor the health of country before and after each management activity.

Bininj/Mungguy co-researchers, Rangers and the research team will then reflect on the results to improve future natural resource management activities and contribute to monitoring, evaluating and reporting efforts in Kakadu.

This project is:

  • identifying Bininj/Mungguy indicators and methods that can be used to monitor and evaluate the health of country in Kakadu National Park
  • increasing Bininj/Mungguy involvement in adaptive co-management and decisions
  • informing Kakadu National Park’s reporting efforts on natural resource management activities
  • contributing to improving cross-cultural monitoring and performance reporting approaches in protected areas.

Project activities

  • Led by a Bininj/Mungguy Research Steering Committee and working with Bininj/Mungguy co-researchers and Rangers, co-develop a set of indicators that will be piloted to monitor and evaluate the health of three pilot sites in:
    • Stone country (Kun-warddewardde) before and after fire management
    • Floodplain country (An-kabohkabo dja kurrula) before and after para grass and pig control
    • Woodland country (Kukarnhkarndan) before and after weed and fire management
  • Undertake management activities guided by Traditional Owners
  • Share learnings from the three sites with Bininj/Mungguy Traditional Owners, Rangers and Park managers.

Anticipated outputs

  • A description of Bininj/Mungguy indicators and methods for monitoring the health of important landscapes in Kakadu National Park that can be incorporated into the park’s evaluation and reporting activities
  • A handbook on best practice cross-cultural monitoring and evaluation approaches that can be used for adaptive co-management in protected areas
  • Reports and scientific publications
  • Bininj/Mungguy co-designed presentations, summaries and factsheets.

Kakadu locator map for indicators

This research will focus on three pilot sites in Kakadu National Park, chosen by Bininj/Mungguy and Kakadu staff through the Bininj/Mungguy Research Steering Committee.

This project, stage two of the Indigenous NRM in Kakadu project, is being led by Dr Cathy Robinson from CSIRO in conjunction with the Bininj/Mungguy Steering Committee.

Dr Robinson is being supported by researchers from The University of Western Australia, Charles Darwin University, CSIRO and by Bininj/Mungguy Traditional Owners and rangers.

This project is due for completion in June 2021.

Cathy Robinson, CSIRO
E: [email protected]

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  • Kakadu Rangers have previously had to collect and compile all data manually, photo Microsoft.
  • Magpie geese have been an important indicator for one of this project's case studies, photo Microsoft.
  • Bininj/Mungguy Traditional Owners and Rangers will guide the choice of indicators and monitoring methods at each site, photo Michael Douglas
  • Monitoring of Bininj/Mungguy healthy country indicators will be done before and after on-ground actions, like spraying weeds on the floodplain, photo Jennifer Macdonald
  • The project will build on monitoring, evaluating and reporting efforts in Kakadu, photo Michael Douglas
  • Kakadu National Park, photo NESP Northern Hub.
  • Healthy country indicators and monitoring methods will be developed at each pilot site, photo Michael Douglas.