25.1 C
Byron Shire
January 28, 2021

Taking cultural burning to the next level

Latest News

It’s legal to grow and distribute – but only by the anointed

Byron based medicinal cannabis producer is sending cannabis to Germany in a breakthrough $92m deal yet the humble plant remains illegal for locals and continues to put people behind bars.

Other News

Rail Trail or nothing!

Neil McKenzie, Bangalow David Lisle’s article A short history of our rail corridor debate summed up succinctly and accurately the compelling...

Response to ‘A short history of our rail corridor debate’

Cr Basil Cameron, Goonengerry The article A short history of our rail corridor debate is better termed a history of the...

Good advertising

Carole Gamble, Mullumbimby Creek The advertisement inside this week’s Echo and is now circulating throughout our region 'If you are tired...

Freedom of speech

Desmond Bellamy – Special Projects Coordinator, PETA Australia – Byron Bay  Great to see the deputy prime minister declaring his...

It’s legal to grow and distribute – but only by the anointed

Byron based medicinal cannabis producer is sending cannabis to Germany in a breakthrough $92m deal yet the humble plant remains illegal for locals and continues to put people behind bars.

Ballina Shire Australia Day award winners

The Ballina Shire Australia Day Awards were announced at the official celebrations held on this morning at the Lennox Head Cultural Centre.

Cultural burn. Photo National Indigenous Fire Network Facebook.

Khaled Al Khawaldeh

Indigenous communities from across the country came together recently for the Firesticks virtual conference, which promotes cultural fire practices.

For thousands of years, cultural fire practices have been employed by Aboriginal communities to help control fire hazards.

Held over two days, the conference provided an opportunity to showcase the important work that Indigenous groups had been doing throughout the year, as well as exchange ideas and information to aid in planning for the future.

Victor Steffensen, co-founder of the Firestick Alliance, an Indigenous-led network that aims at reinvigorating cultural burning practices, kicked off the conference with a determined message.

‘We’re calling on agencies, universities, private landholders, all communities to work together and put our shoulders behind what is already working’.

Mr Steffensen said current fire management practices are failing to keep up with the rising severity and consistency of bushfires. While he believes cultural burning is the answer, a lack of trained individuals is hindering the massive uptake needed in traditional fire management methods across the country.

Practitioners needed

‘The healthier the land, the less likely it is to burn with wildfires. But we don’t have enough skilled practitioners to manage the country… a two-day fire certificate [is not enough]. We’re talking about three years to get started with a simple training program that is tailored to each region.’

A funding mechanism for investing in traditional fire management was also introduced. Known as ‘fire credits’, the mechanism would work as a separate currency that would provide a direct investment pathway to individuals and organisations.

As explained by Rowan Foley, CEO of the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation: ‘Ordinary mums and dads who want to look after Country, and are sick to death of having Country burned down, could buy Cultural Fire Credits… corporations such as insurance companies are keen to invest [in preventative measures], because it is much cheaper to invest in cultural burning than it is to replace a house… landowners could buy credits to support a local Aboriginal ranger team to implement cultural burns on their property’.

Meanwhile, a study conducted by the federal government, in conjunction with the CSIRO and Landcare Australia, found that traditional land management had a number of benefits, on both the environment and local communities.

This included the revitalisation of local flora and fauna, improved soil quality, local employment opportunities, beautification of the landscape and reduced wildfires.

On the Fish River Station in the Northern Territory, the use of cultural burning was found to have reduced the area of land that had been historically burnt each year, by late dry-season wildfires, from 69 per cent to just three per cent.

A study conducted by Stanford University also found similar results.

By analysing a number of satellite-images, the Stanford team found that Aboriginal cultural burning in Martu tribal land in Western Australia had moulded the land into a patchwork of spaced vegetation that radically reduced bushfires while simultaneously increasing biodiversity.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

2 COMMENTS

  1. From across the nation Indigenous communities met recently and joined together for the Firesticks virtual conference, promoting cultural fire practices that small fires beats out big bush fires.
    The dances began and beating sticks were beating and for a fleeting moment the searing heat of the bushfires subsided. It is what the Indiginous do as they are one with the land and off into the night was the wail of a didgeridoo.

  2. Let’s be clear, cultural fire practices have not been employed by Aboriginal communities to help control fire hazards, it was part of their food production practice. Since the dominant environment here was massively abundant rainforest there was no need for fire farming. If there had been any we would not have had so much rainforest.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Rail trail debate

Geoff Meers, Suffolk Park It was good to read David Lisle’s comprehensive and reasoned discussion of the history of the Casino to Murwillumbah rail corridor....

No respect

Chibo Mertineit, Lillian Rock Once again it’s that time of the year where we are meant to celebrate Australia day on 26 January. The day...

A window of trust

Baden Offord, Ocean Shores Wholeheartedly agree with Dave Rastovich’s spot-on letter regarding the value and benefit of The Echo, that it is a ‘trusted window’ (Letters,...

Conspiracy and pubs

Art Burroughes, Mullumbimby Regarding my article Conspiracy in the Pub becomes talking point (Echo, 20 January). How can we avoid falling foul of the growing tsunami of...
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -