Traditional owners’ input in NatureMap
Hundreds of unique records describing the biodiversity of the Western Desert have been added to WA database NatureMap thanks to traditional owners throughout the Pilbara.
Since 2008, Aboriginal ranger groups from across WA’s Western Desert have collected biodiversity data on threatened species and the threats they face, but there has been little inclusion of data collected by traditional owners until now.
Rangelands NRM provided funding support to Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa and Central Desert Native Title Services’ land and community team to provide the foundational and logistical support to the various ranger groups.
Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa environmental strategy and services manager Tristan Cole said for too long the repository of the State’s biodiversity data had shown a “black hole” over desert country where traditional owners had been busy surveying and collecting data.
“It’s fantastic to have Martu and other desert rangers’ work recognised and be able to fill in the gap that existed on NatureMap,” he said.
“Looking after and managing country is intrinsic to Martu — it is a responsibility that is founded in their culture.” The Aboriginal rangers are combining traditional ecological knowledge with contemporary natural resource management techniques to look after country and increase biodiversity.
“The ranger program also provides an important platform for the inter-generational transfer of the elders’ knowledge,” Mr Cole said.
Martu elder Rita Cutter from Wiluna is a senior Martu ranger with the Birriliburu Women Rangers team who has been on various ranger exchanges.
She said projects like this enabled her to pass on her knowledge two-way with scientists.
Jigalong women carry out monitoring work.