Credits where credit’s due for frequent fires program

Credits where credit’s due for frequent fires program

Mr Bangmorra role is to use his expertise in preventing exactly the types of savanna bushfires that emit an estimated two gigatonnes of carbon worldwide each year. His is a risky and difficult craft, he carries out cool-weather burns in a mosaic pattern that stop summer bushfires in their tracks and this makes him very valuable in what is increasingly called the carbon economy.

Traditional knowledge of Indigenous fire practices burns pathway to safer, healthier country

Traditional knowledge of Indigenous fire practices burns pathway to safer, healthier country

“What we see here is what I call ‘upside down’ country,” Victor Steffenson says, taking in the typical bush setting around us.

“Where you see the roots sticking in the air and the canopy on the ground; thick on the ground and thin on the top.”

He points to several of the large parent trees whose tall trunks tower above the understorey.

Some have long black scars extending from the ground to several metres above our heads while others appear completely blackened and lifeless.

“You can see from the state of them, the hot fires have come and just been way too hot,” Mr Steffenson explained.

“And when we look at the forest floor, there’s no shade from these big bloodwood trees anymore [so] eventually, if we don’t do anything, more hot fires will come and all the black wattle that’s thickening the understory will burn hot again.

“All we’re going to have is dead wood, rubbish and more black wattle coming up and less grass.”

Firing up Farm Management – The Land

Charlie Massy trials fire stick methods in the Monaro.
Indigenous burning utilising the plant’s adaptations to fire throughout millions of years. “Some Indigenous people believe the die-back of cer­tain populations of eucalypts on the Monaro and other regions has occurred be­cause of the lack of burning” he said. “Burning gets the ecology going… it kills pests which threaten plants, kills exotic seed loads, puts charcoal back into the soil and it gen­erates the germination of na­tive plant seed and tubers.”

Ecological Burning

The Sugar Bag Project

Mike Lewis from Charles Darwin University talks with elder Tommy George about stingless bees and hives. Learn how traditional knowledge and cool burning can positively affect the abundance of flora and the bees.

Please Note: This video contains images and video footage of Awu Laya Elder, Dr Tommy George who passed away July 29, 2016. Dr Tommy George was the last fluent speaker of the Kuku Thaypan language. He was awarded an honorary Ph.D with his brother Dr George Musgrave, for their extensive Indigenous knowledge. He co-founded the Living Knowledge Place, Indigenous Fire Workshop, and Laura Dance Festival. His influence extends throughout Australia and the world.