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


Stay Updated

Learn about the places you love and find out how you can help by signing up for Nature eNews.

I'm already on the list Read our privacy policy

Thank you for joining our online community!

We'll be in touch soon with more Nature Conservancy news, updates, and exciting stories.