In Australia, caring for country requires having people on the ground. Aboriginal Australians have been caring for this country for tens of thousands of years, and they have both the knowledge and the skills to manage many of the environmental challenges facing us, from wildfires, to feral animals and invasive weeds.
But caring for Australia’s vast landscapes requires resources. The federal government’s announcement of $30 million in additional funding for Indigenous rangers will leverage the contributions that Bush Heritage already makes to many Indigenous ranger groups across Australia.
On Wunambal Gaambera country, we're now seeing what's possible when groups such as the Wunambal Gaambera Uunguu Rangers are well-resourced.
The recent five-year review of the Wunambal Gaambera Healthy Country Plan found that Uunguu Rangers are implementing a highly sophisticated and effective right-way fire regimen. The cover story for this edition of our newsletter explores how that fire regimen is helping to protect more than 6,000 patches of rainforest, or ‘wulo’, from devastating late dry-season wildfires.
On the other side of the country, in far north Queensland, Bush Heritage is contributing to the protection of rainforest by another means – through our work controlling and reducing the spread of one of the world’s worst invasive weeds. Siam Weed has the potential to smother Australia’s Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, home to exceptionally high levels of plant and animal diversity.
Our long-term, creative and multifaceted approach to Siam Weed control on the adjacent Yourka Reserve has significantly reduced that threat.
As we look to the end of the year, we also look to the end of an era. I would like to thank Louise Sylvan for her service as president of Bush Heritage Australia over the past eight years, and take this chance to welcome our new Board President, Chris Grubb.
Wishing you a safe and happy summer,
Gerard O’Neill, Chief Executive