Please note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this website may contain images and voices of people who have died.

Partnerships and tools to support biodiversity monitoring

The growing workforce of Indigenous land and sea managers and the expanding area of land and sea country under active Indigenous management present unprecedented opportunities to better manage and monitor biodiversity across north Australia. Research partnerships play a key role in advancing those opportunities.

The National Environmental Research Program (NERP) is an Australian Government initiative that funds five research hubs across Australia. The program’s broad objectives are to improve the understanding, management and conservation of Australia's unique biodiversity and ecosystems through world-class research, and enhance delivery of those research outcomes to environmental decision makers and other stakeholders.

The NERP Northern Australia Hub, based at Charles Darwin University, works across six research themes. NAILSMA is leading a research project in the Biodiversity Monitoring and Reporting theme, entitled ‘Partnerships and tools to support biodiversity monitoring by Indigenous land and sea managers’. This project builds on previous NAILSMA biodiversity monitoring projects, and NAILSMA's award-winning I-Tracker program. Further information on the other NERP Northern Australia Hub projects can be found on their webpage.

The NAILSMA-led project is developing tools that support scientifically robust, community-based biodiversity monitoring programs for Indigenous land and sea managers, and fostering partnerships that promote the development of sustainable Indigenous livelihoods based on caring for country. The project comprises three case studies where NAILSMA, researchers, and Indigenous rangers and communities are collaborating closely to develop new biodiversity monitoring tools and methods:

Marine Turtle and Dugong Monitoring Case Study: Wunambal Gaambera Healthy Country

A collaboration between NAILSMA, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation (WGAC), this case study focuses on improving available tools to monitor turtles and dugongs and associated habitats. Existing methods of studying marine turtle and dugong populations provide few opportunities for participation by Indigenous rangers and Traditional Owners, and can be prohibitively expensive; scientifically rigorous techniques which are more accessible and cost-effective will allow Indigenous land managers to undertake surveys and participate more fully in the management process.

Find more information and download project publications here

Freshwater Research and Monitoring Case Study: Nyul Nyul Rangers

This case study is a collaboration between NAILSMA, The University of Western Australia and Griffith University looking at water health. The Kimberley Land Council-facilitated Nyul Nyul Rangers and researchers are working together to collect baseline scientific data alongside Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, and creating tools and techniques for ongoing monitoring by rangers.

Find more information and download project publications here

Freshwater Research and Monitoring Case Study: Lama Lama Rangers

This case study is a collaboration between NAILSMA, Griffith University and local NRM group South Cape York Catchments, focused on freshwater research with the Lama Lama Rangers on the eastern Cape York Peninsula. This case study aims to identify and adapt scientific monitoring techniques to deliver the tools and techniques best suited to ongoing monitoring of water health by Indigenous land and sea managers.

Find more information and download project publications here