Insights into the biodiversity and social benchmarking components of the Northern Australian fire management and carbon abatement programmes

Authors

  • James Fitzsimons,

    1. James Fitzsimons is Director of Conservation (Australia Program) with The Nature Conservancy (Suite 3-04, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia; Email: jfitzsimons@tnc.org) and an honorary research fellow at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University (221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Vic. 3125, Australia). Jeremy Russell-Smith is with the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA) (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia), Bushfires NT, (PO Box 37346, Winnellie NT 0821, Australia; Email: jeremy.russell-smith@nt.gov.au) and the Research Institute for the Environment & Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University (Darwin, NT 0909, Australia). Glenn James is the Carbon Social Program Officer with NAILSMA (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia; Email: glenn.james@cdu.edu.au). Tom Vigilante is with the Land and Sea Unit, Kimberley Land Council (PO Box 2145, Broome, WA 6725, Australia; Email: tom.vigilante@klc.org.au). Geoff Lipsett-Moore is the North Australia Program Director with The Nature Conservancy (PO Box U175, Charles Darwin University, NT 0815, Australia; Email: glipsett-moore@tnc.org). Joe Morrison is the Chief Executive Officer with NAILSMA (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia; Email: joe.morrison@cdu.edu.au). Michael Looker is Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Australia Program (Suite 3-04, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia; Email: mlooker@tnc.org).
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  • Jeremy Russell-Smith,

    1. James Fitzsimons is Director of Conservation (Australia Program) with The Nature Conservancy (Suite 3-04, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia; Email: jfitzsimons@tnc.org) and an honorary research fellow at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University (221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Vic. 3125, Australia). Jeremy Russell-Smith is with the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA) (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia), Bushfires NT, (PO Box 37346, Winnellie NT 0821, Australia; Email: jeremy.russell-smith@nt.gov.au) and the Research Institute for the Environment & Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University (Darwin, NT 0909, Australia). Glenn James is the Carbon Social Program Officer with NAILSMA (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia; Email: glenn.james@cdu.edu.au). Tom Vigilante is with the Land and Sea Unit, Kimberley Land Council (PO Box 2145, Broome, WA 6725, Australia; Email: tom.vigilante@klc.org.au). Geoff Lipsett-Moore is the North Australia Program Director with The Nature Conservancy (PO Box U175, Charles Darwin University, NT 0815, Australia; Email: glipsett-moore@tnc.org). Joe Morrison is the Chief Executive Officer with NAILSMA (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia; Email: joe.morrison@cdu.edu.au). Michael Looker is Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Australia Program (Suite 3-04, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia; Email: mlooker@tnc.org).
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  • Glenn James,

    1. James Fitzsimons is Director of Conservation (Australia Program) with The Nature Conservancy (Suite 3-04, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia; Email: jfitzsimons@tnc.org) and an honorary research fellow at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University (221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Vic. 3125, Australia). Jeremy Russell-Smith is with the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA) (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia), Bushfires NT, (PO Box 37346, Winnellie NT 0821, Australia; Email: jeremy.russell-smith@nt.gov.au) and the Research Institute for the Environment & Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University (Darwin, NT 0909, Australia). Glenn James is the Carbon Social Program Officer with NAILSMA (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia; Email: glenn.james@cdu.edu.au). Tom Vigilante is with the Land and Sea Unit, Kimberley Land Council (PO Box 2145, Broome, WA 6725, Australia; Email: tom.vigilante@klc.org.au). Geoff Lipsett-Moore is the North Australia Program Director with The Nature Conservancy (PO Box U175, Charles Darwin University, NT 0815, Australia; Email: glipsett-moore@tnc.org). Joe Morrison is the Chief Executive Officer with NAILSMA (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia; Email: joe.morrison@cdu.edu.au). Michael Looker is Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Australia Program (Suite 3-04, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia; Email: mlooker@tnc.org).
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  • Tom Vigilante,

    1. James Fitzsimons is Director of Conservation (Australia Program) with The Nature Conservancy (Suite 3-04, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia; Email: jfitzsimons@tnc.org) and an honorary research fellow at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University (221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Vic. 3125, Australia). Jeremy Russell-Smith is with the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA) (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia), Bushfires NT, (PO Box 37346, Winnellie NT 0821, Australia; Email: jeremy.russell-smith@nt.gov.au) and the Research Institute for the Environment & Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University (Darwin, NT 0909, Australia). Glenn James is the Carbon Social Program Officer with NAILSMA (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia; Email: glenn.james@cdu.edu.au). Tom Vigilante is with the Land and Sea Unit, Kimberley Land Council (PO Box 2145, Broome, WA 6725, Australia; Email: tom.vigilante@klc.org.au). Geoff Lipsett-Moore is the North Australia Program Director with The Nature Conservancy (PO Box U175, Charles Darwin University, NT 0815, Australia; Email: glipsett-moore@tnc.org). Joe Morrison is the Chief Executive Officer with NAILSMA (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia; Email: joe.morrison@cdu.edu.au). Michael Looker is Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Australia Program (Suite 3-04, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia; Email: mlooker@tnc.org).
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  • Geoff Lipsett-Moore,

    1. James Fitzsimons is Director of Conservation (Australia Program) with The Nature Conservancy (Suite 3-04, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia; Email: jfitzsimons@tnc.org) and an honorary research fellow at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University (221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Vic. 3125, Australia). Jeremy Russell-Smith is with the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA) (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia), Bushfires NT, (PO Box 37346, Winnellie NT 0821, Australia; Email: jeremy.russell-smith@nt.gov.au) and the Research Institute for the Environment & Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University (Darwin, NT 0909, Australia). Glenn James is the Carbon Social Program Officer with NAILSMA (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia; Email: glenn.james@cdu.edu.au). Tom Vigilante is with the Land and Sea Unit, Kimberley Land Council (PO Box 2145, Broome, WA 6725, Australia; Email: tom.vigilante@klc.org.au). Geoff Lipsett-Moore is the North Australia Program Director with The Nature Conservancy (PO Box U175, Charles Darwin University, NT 0815, Australia; Email: glipsett-moore@tnc.org). Joe Morrison is the Chief Executive Officer with NAILSMA (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia; Email: joe.morrison@cdu.edu.au). Michael Looker is Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Australia Program (Suite 3-04, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia; Email: mlooker@tnc.org).
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  • Joe Morrison,

    1. James Fitzsimons is Director of Conservation (Australia Program) with The Nature Conservancy (Suite 3-04, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia; Email: jfitzsimons@tnc.org) and an honorary research fellow at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University (221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Vic. 3125, Australia). Jeremy Russell-Smith is with the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA) (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia), Bushfires NT, (PO Box 37346, Winnellie NT 0821, Australia; Email: jeremy.russell-smith@nt.gov.au) and the Research Institute for the Environment & Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University (Darwin, NT 0909, Australia). Glenn James is the Carbon Social Program Officer with NAILSMA (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia; Email: glenn.james@cdu.edu.au). Tom Vigilante is with the Land and Sea Unit, Kimberley Land Council (PO Box 2145, Broome, WA 6725, Australia; Email: tom.vigilante@klc.org.au). Geoff Lipsett-Moore is the North Australia Program Director with The Nature Conservancy (PO Box U175, Charles Darwin University, NT 0815, Australia; Email: glipsett-moore@tnc.org). Joe Morrison is the Chief Executive Officer with NAILSMA (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia; Email: joe.morrison@cdu.edu.au). Michael Looker is Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Australia Program (Suite 3-04, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia; Email: mlooker@tnc.org).
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  • Michael Looker

    1. James Fitzsimons is Director of Conservation (Australia Program) with The Nature Conservancy (Suite 3-04, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia; Email: jfitzsimons@tnc.org) and an honorary research fellow at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University (221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Vic. 3125, Australia). Jeremy Russell-Smith is with the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA) (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia), Bushfires NT, (PO Box 37346, Winnellie NT 0821, Australia; Email: jeremy.russell-smith@nt.gov.au) and the Research Institute for the Environment & Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University (Darwin, NT 0909, Australia). Glenn James is the Carbon Social Program Officer with NAILSMA (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia; Email: glenn.james@cdu.edu.au). Tom Vigilante is with the Land and Sea Unit, Kimberley Land Council (PO Box 2145, Broome, WA 6725, Australia; Email: tom.vigilante@klc.org.au). Geoff Lipsett-Moore is the North Australia Program Director with The Nature Conservancy (PO Box U175, Charles Darwin University, NT 0815, Australia; Email: glipsett-moore@tnc.org). Joe Morrison is the Chief Executive Officer with NAILSMA (Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia; Email: joe.morrison@cdu.edu.au). Michael Looker is Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Australia Program (Suite 3-04, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia; Email: mlooker@tnc.org).
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Abstract

Summary  Much of northern Australia’s tropical savannas are subject to annual intense and extensive late dry season wildfires, much of this occurring on Aboriginal land. Based on the successful West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (WALFA) model, which has resulted in significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions, fire abatement programmes are planned for other significant regions of northern Australia. This study offers an introduction to the ideas behind a proposed environmental and social benchmarking project that aims to evaluate the potential benefits of expanding the fire abatement program in northern Australia, under the leadership of NAILSMA and its partners. Gaining a better understanding of the biodiversity, social and cultural outcomes of these fire abatement activities is an important component of demonstrating multiple benefits of these programmes. We emphasize the role of both biodiversity and cultural mapping to establish benchmarks and baseline states, with the involvement of Indigenous communities being a key element to optimize social and biodiversity benefits. Consultation with Traditional Owners and ranger groups to establish an agreed set of targets, indicators and sampling protocols and methodologies are critical component of this process. Examples of preliminary work to date are provided.

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