Aboriginal land management: Can scientists help?, December 1997

Department of the Environment, 1997

Internal Report 269
Thurtell L, Pidgeon B & Yibarbuk D
Supervising Scientist Division

About the report

The Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) represents outstation communities living near Maningrida in Central Arnhem Land. The BAC is keen to set standards for wetland management by Aboriginal groups in the Top End. They have asked eriss to assist their community rangers to assess the ecological status of their wetlands (Djelk wetlands). Based on this and other assessments the BAC will formulate a management plan which reflects the aspirations of their community for future use and protection of those wetlands.

Macroinvertebrate, fish and plant surveys were undertaken in the 1996 and 1997 dry seasons. BAC Community Rangers participated in the surveys, received training in survey work and exchanged knowledge with eriss scientists. The information exchange before, during and after the surveys was crucial in the formulation of objectives, site selection and reporting processes, and provided some unparalleled insights into Aboriginal wetland use and management.

The challenge for eriss is to focus on the needs of the BAC and to interactively help create an information base for the Djelk wetlands management plan. The challenge for BAC is to make "wise use" of "Balanda" processes to ensure the future of their wetlands.