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Contacts

Dr Jeremy Russell-Smith
Fire Management Consultant
Tel: 08 8922 0830

Fax: 08 8922 0833

PO Box 37346
WINNELLIE, NT


Savanna Explorer > Arnhem Land > Fire > West Arnhem Land Fire Project

West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement

arnhem_geo_map
The Arnhem Land Plateau (in yellow and orange) rises from the savanna lowlands (in green). Kakadu National Park covers part of the Western edge and the West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement Project (outlined) covers most of the remainder of the Plateau.

The West Arnhem Plateau is the site for an innovative and important project in which skilled Indigenous fire managers are working with the broader community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect culture and biodiversity on their country, and bring in social and economic benefits to their communities.

The West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement Project is a partnership between the Aboriginal Traditional Owners and Indigenous ranger groups of the plateau, Darwin Liquefied Natural Gas (DLNG), the Northern Territory Government and the Northern Land Council. Through this partnership Indigenous ranger groups are implementing strategic fire management across 28,000 km2 of Western Arnhem Land (yellow area in map image) to reduce the frequency of wildfires and so offset some of the greenhouse gas emissions from the Liquefied Natural Gas plant at Wickham Point in the city of Darwin.

The project is now reducing greenhouse gas emissions from this area by the equivalent of over 100,000 tonnes of CO2 each year. The early dry-season burning practices that reduce wildfires are also helping to conserve the environmental and cultural values of the plateau — equivalent to those of the adjacent World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park.

In return Darwin LNG is paying the Indigenous fire managers around $1million each year to provide this service. This funding is also bringing in new jobs, networks and educational opportunities to the region.

To find out more go to the WALFA opening page in the All Regions, Fire, section.

Eureka win for Arnhem Land Fire Project

CONGRATULATIONS to the entire West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (WALFA) project team who won the inaugural Eureka Prize for Innovative Solutions to Climate Change in August. Special congratulations to the project’s leaders Jeremy Russell-Smith (TS-CRC and Bushfires NT), Peter Cooke (Wardekken Land Management Limited) and Traditional Owner Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek, AO.

Eureka Prize presentation in Arnhem Land. Left to right: Peter Biless, Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek AO, Lynette Thorstensen (IAG), Djawida Nadjongnorle
Eureka Prize presentation in Arnhem Land. Left to right: Peter Biless, Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek AO, Lynette Thorstensen (IAG), Djawida Nadjongnorle
Photo: Peter Jacklyn

The project has involved a host of other people including traditional owners and Indigenous rangers, the Northern Land Council, Darwin Liquefied Natural Gas, CSIRO, Australian Greenhouse Office, Landgate and the Northern Territory Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts.

The WALFA team has spent 10 years developing the program which aims to abate west Arnhem Land wildfires. In 2000, savanna fires caused 40% of official greenhouse gas emissions in the Northern Territory and account for 2–4% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The WALFA scheme has reduced emissions by the equivalent of more than 256,000 tonnes of CO2.

WALFA uses a ‘Two Tool Kit’ approach because it employs Indigenous practice and western scientific knowledge to reduce wildfires. These techniques include cross-cultural planning and assessment, long cross-country bush walks, burning programs and sophisticated fire-mapping technology as available on the FireNorth website, link below. Australian Museum Director Frank Howarth said that the judges admired the cross-cultural collaboration on the project and applauded the WALFA team for their innovation and perseverance.

“We also are thrilled to hear that Indigenous children have an increased interest in science at school, after seeing traditional rangers and western scientists work on the scheme.”

In late September, the Eureka Prize was given to the Kabulwarnamyo community by the prize sponsors IAG, in a presentation ceremony in western Arnhem Land.

Articles

The West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (WALFA) Project

The West Arnhem Fire Management Project (WALFA) is a partnership between Darwin Liquefied Natural Gas (DLNG) [read more...]

Contacts

Mr Peter Cooke
Fire Management Coordinator
Wardekken Land Management Limited
Tel: 08 89790772

14 Lantana St
NIGHTCLIFF, NT 0810


Dr Peter Jacklyn
NRM Networks Coordinator
Office of Research and Innovation
Tel: 08 8946 6285

Mobile: 0429 091 470
Fax: 08 8946 7107

Charles Darwin University
DARWIN, NT 0909


Dr Jeremy Russell-Smith
Fire Management Consultant
Tel: 08 8922 0830

Fax: 08 8922 0833

PO Box 37346
WINNELLIE, NT