“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.”
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.”
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.