Home Institution

Tulane University of Louisiana

Publication Date

Fall 2005

Program Name

Australia: Sustainability and the Environment


Wildfire is becoming an increasingly big problem in the Top End and Kimberley region. In the last fire season, a region the size of Victoria and Tasmania combined burned (Gardner, 2005). This tendency towards extremely intense and extensive Late dry season wildfires is having serious economic and environmental impacts. While all land use objectives depend on healthy county, many people with more economic interests in the land fail to understand the complex ecological effects of fire, and the implications of these effects on their land use goals. Aboriginal people, on the other hand, have a very good handle on the ecological considerations involved with fire management that are necessary for maintaining healthy country. Modern technology is also revolutionizing the ways we can manage land today. Therefore, my study question is: What are the benefits of utilizing Aboriginal fire knowledge along with modern technology in fire management?

In my study, I did extensive background research on the ecological and anthropological considerations associated with fire management. I had the opportunity to meet with a really broad range of people involved with fire management, including people involved with governmental fire management, community-based fire management, and an Aboriginal fire manager. I also traveled across most of this region on the ground so had many opportunities for direct observation. While we are currently far from sustainable fire management, eventually the proper utilization of Aboriginal fire knowledge along with modern technology will allow us to achieve social equity, and maintain healthy country and economic sustainability.


Natural Resource Economics | Natural Resources Management and Policy


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