Last month, more than 30 representatives from Aboriginal and natural resource management organisations met for the first face-to-face workshop of the Ten Deserts Initiative in Alice Springs.
The workshop was opened by Ten Deserts Coordinator, Jimmy Cocking, with an introduction to the fledgling Initiative, which aims to build partnerships across state and territory borders to support the protection of the natural and cultural values of Australia’s outback.
The group first heard from The Pew Charitable Trusts, Director Outback Australia, Dr Barry Traill, who presented The Modern Outback papers on the nature, people, and the future of remote Australia.
Participants discussed key issues of concern, potential arrangements for collaboration and funding to better manage Australia’s desert country (arid lands of the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia).
With a focus on the first two years of work, participants considered regional, operational, on-ground collaboration on fire planning and management projects and how to tackle the issue of buffel grass, which is used for cattle pasture and erosion control but is impacting native plants and animals.
The group also went on a field tour of the Ilparpa ‘claypans’, led by Botanist Peter Latz. Here they discussed the important biodiversity of the Eucalyptus Intertexta Forest and saw how the area had been restored by volunteers over many years, including the removal of Buffel grass and other weeds.
Rangelands NRM Program Manager for Pilbara and Deserts, Chris Curnow, said the workshop would be followed by quarterly virtual meetings to develop and maintain the strategic direction of the Ten Deserts Initiative.
“This was a great start to practical, cross-border and cross-tenure collaborations across the Ten Deserts and the arid and semi-arid country in between,” he said.
“We were pleased to see this commitment and input from so many individuals and organisations who understand the local, national and global significance of these areas.”
Inaugural Ten Deserts workshop April 2015.
Field tour of the Ilparpa ‘claypans as part of Ten Deserts workshop.
Photos by Chris Curnow.