Showing and Sharing Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge
Northern Australia Environmental Resources Portal
Key words: Fitzroy River, 3-D modelling, decision-making, Northern Australia
Researchers first worked with indigenous school children to create a 3D foam model of Fitzroy River in Western Australia. The model was presented to groups of indigenous people who considered the area to be a traditional territory. The groups marked locations on the model that had cultural significance, and that data, with the permission of the participants, can be used to make conservatory decisions.

Intentional Fire-Spreading by "Firehawk Raptors in Northern Australia
By: Bonta et al.
Journal of Ethnobiology 37(4):700-718
We document Indigenous Ecological Knowledge and non-Indigenous observations of intentional fire-spreading by the fire-foraging raptors Black Kite (Milvus migrans), Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus), and Brown Falcon (Falco berigora) in tropical Australian savannas. Observers report both solo and cooperative attempts, often successful, to spread wildfires intentionally via single-occasion or repeated transport of burning sticks in talons or beaks. This behavior, often represented in sacred ceremonies, is widely known to local people in the Northern Territory, where we carried out ethno-ornithological research from 2011 to 2017; it was also reported to us from Western Australia and Queensland. Though Aboriginal rangers and others who deal with bushfires take into account the risks posed by raptors that cause controlled burns to jump across firebreaks, official skepticism about the reality of avian fire-spreading hampers effective planning for landscape management and restoration. Via ethno-ornithological workshops and controlled field experiments with land managers, our collaborative research aims to situate fire-spreading as an important factor in fire management and fire ecology. In a broader sense, better understanding of avian fire-spreading, both in Australia and, potentially, elsewhere, can contribute to theories about the evolution of tropical savannas and the origins of human fire use.

Aboriginal Legends reveal Ancient Secrets to Science
By: Myles Gough
BBC News
May 19, 2015
Key Words: sea level rise, Australia, meteor, legends, stories, cultural transmission, language endangerment
The Luritja people of central Australia have maintained accurate legends over hundreds, or even thousands, of years. These helped scientists to understand a meteor crash and sea level rise events that will give them clues for present issues of climate change.

We Like to Listen to Stories about Fish: Integrating Indigenous Ecological and Scientific Knowledge to Inform Environmental Flow Assessments
By: Sue E. Jackson, Michael M. Douglas, Mark J. Kennard, Brad J. Pusey, Jabal Huddleston, Bill Harney, Lenny Liddy, Mona Liddy, Robert Liddy, Lizzy Sullivan, Brenda Huddleston, Melissa Banderson, Andrew McMah, & Quentin Allsop
Ecology and Society, 19(1):43
Key words: Daly River, Environmental Flow, Fish Ecology, Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, Indigenous Fish Knowledge, Integration
Studies that apply indigenous ecological knowledge to contemporary resource management problems are increasing globally; however, few of these studies have contributed to environmental water management. Authors interviewed three indigenous landowning groups in a tropical Australian catchment subject to increasing water resource development pressure and trialed tools to integrate indigenous and scientific knowledge of the biology and ecology of freshwater fish to assess their water requirements.

Gerry’s crossing the cultural and scientific divide
ABC Rural
November 14, 2013
An article written about Australia’s only indigenous ethnobotanist, and his role working in the crossover between conventional science and traditional ecological knowledge.

Bridging Knowledges: Understanding and Applying Indigenous and Western Scientific Knowledge for Marine Wildlife Management
By: Kristen Weiss, Mark Hamann, & Helene Marsh
Society and Natural Resources, 26(3):285-302
Key words: Australia, Co-Management, Cross-Cultural, Indigenous Knowledge, Indigenous Management
Cross-cultural knowledge sharing in natural resource management is receiving growing academic attention. Further consideration is necessary regarding how indigenous and Western knowledges are understood and validated by resource managers. Using a marine co-management case study in northern Australia, authors explored how indigenous and nonindigenous managers engage with indigenous and Western scientific knowledge.

Utilizing Indigenous Seasonal Knowledge to Understand Aquatic Resource Use and Inform Water Resource Management in Northern Australia
By: Emma Woodward, Sue Jackson, Marcus Finn, & Patricia Marrfurra McTaggart
Ecological Management & Restoration, 12(1):58-64
Key words: Aquatic Ecosystems, Daly River, Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, Seasonal Calendar, Subsistence Resource Use
Indigenous ecological knowledge can inform contemporary water management activities including water allocation planning. This paper draws on results obtained from a 3-year study to reveal the connection between Indigenous socio-economic values and river flows in the Daly River, Northern Territory.

Who’s the Boss? Post-colonialism, Ecological Research and Conservation Management on Australian Indigenous Lands
By: Wayne Barbour & Christine Schlesinger
Ecological Management & Restoration, 13(1):36-41
Key words: Collaborative Research, Cross-cultural Partnerships, Indigenous Land Management, Aboriginal Land Management
The involvement of Indigenous people in the national conservation effort is increasingly being acknowledged and valued in Australia. Ecological research can play an important role in reinforcing the efforts of Indigenous land managers; and interest from Indigenous and non-Indigenous ecologists and land managers to work together on ecological issues of common concern is increasing.

Australian Approaches for Managing ‘Country’ Using Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Knowledge
By: Emilie J. Ens, Max Finlayson, Karissa Preuss, Sue Jackson, and Sarah Holcombe
Ecological Management & Restoration, 13(1):100-107
Key words: Community-Based Natural Resource Management, Cross-Cultural Approaches, Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, Natural and Cultural Resource Management
This paper synthesizes the lessons learnt and challenges encountered when applying Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledge and methods in natural and cultural resource management (NCRM) in northern and central Australia.

Indigenous Australians’ knowledge of weather and climate
By: Donna Green, Jack Billy, and Alo Tapim
Climatic Change
Key words: Torres Strait Islands, culturally appropriate adaptation strategies, weather calendar
Authors argue that aboriginal people living in northern Australia could invaluably contribute to creating a baseline of environmental variation for the island country. They conclude that a participatory program could both help climatic researchers and benefit the local populations.

Stepping Out of Our Paradigm: A Path for the Integration of Scientific and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Natural Resource Management
By: Monica Gratani & James R. A. Butler
The call for the integration of scientific and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) in natural resource and environment management (NREM) is now stronger than ever. In Australia central and state governments indicate “knowledge integration” in NREM as a way to pursuit social equity and enhance sustainability. Yet a clear path for integration of knowledge systems on the ground is still to be developed which often hinders the dialogue between holders of different knowledge systems. This paper explores aspects such as social values and changes that need to be made for a middle ground.

Last updated: August 31, 2018