Reconnecting with the Past

...And facing the future with fire at Fish River Station.

At Fish River Station in northern Australia, a bold new partnership is strengthening connections — both ecological and cultural. ©Ted Wood

The Conservancy, in tandem with Pew Charitable Trusts, worked with the Indigenous Land Corporation and the Australian National Reserve System to purchase Fish River Station. ©Ted Wood

The 450,000-acre, jaw-dropping property was formerly a cattle ranch, but it was never fully developed. Luckily, the land was left largely intact. ©Ted Wood

Intact, except for one crucial component: the presence of the land’s local Indigenous people. Now, that connection is being restored. ©Ted Wood

Perhaps surprisingly, one of the best ways to reestablish Indigenous stewardship of this land is to set it on fire. ©Ted Wood

For centuries, Indigenous people have used controlled burns in the early dry season to enhance hunting and stave off massive wildfires in the late dry season. ©Ted Wood

Now, Conservancy scientists like Geoff Lipsett-Moore are helping local Indigenous people at Fish River to reinstate controlled burns. ©Ted Wood

The placement of those burns is of crucial importance to scientists, Indigenous workers, Traditional Owners and staff. ©Ted Wood

Indigenous Rangers navigate to predetermined controlled burn sites using GPS. ©Ted Wood

Once there, they start a low-intensity mosaic of fire that will both reduce the build-up of fuel and rejuvenate the landscape. ©Ted Wood

Fish River Station boasts a huge mix of natural systems that shelter a number of threatened species, including northern quolls and Gouldian finches. ©Steve Murphy/AWC

Controlled burns are a crucial way to maintain Fish River Station’s important biodiversity… ©Mark Godfrey/TNC

…And also strengthen important cultural connections by employing Indigenous Rangers to sustainably manage their land. ©Ted Wood

Through combining age-old conservation techniques with the latest in conservation planning and management… ©Ted Wood

…The Conservancy and our partners are working to ensure a sustainable future for Fish River Station and its local Indigenous people. ©Ted Wood


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