Tiwi Resources Pty Ltd, with full endorsement of the Tiwi Land Council, became the first organisation to enter into an agreement with the Indigenous Land & Sea Corporation to fund fire management in exchange for fire credits. The agreement is funded by Inpex, and employees a team of Tiwi land Rangers to manage the Fire Program on the Tiwi Islands. This includes not only the managed burns, but also working with community and school groups to education on the best practice in burning and keeping country healthy.
The tropical savannas of northern Australia are among the most fire-prone ecosystems on Earth, with up to half of many savanna landscapes, including the Tiwi Islands, being burnt each year. Fire plays a key role in maintaining the open vegetation structure that most savanna plants and animals require. However, there is concern that fire frequency in some areas is too high, and that this is having a negative impact on biodiversity.
Burning is an important land management tool for Tiwi people, and there is growing concern about the potential negative impacts of more intense fires occurring late in Kumunupunari - the dry season. Most emissions from burning are generated by these fires that sweep through remote areas on the Tiwi Islands from late August onwards. As well as producing greenhouse gases, fires late in the dry season can threaten biodiversity. Reducing the extent of fires can earn carbon credits, representing an economic opportunity for the Tiwi Islands.
In 2009, the Tiwi Land Council commenced the Tiwi Carbon Study, in partnership originally with CSIRO but now Charles Darwin University.
In 2016, the Tiwi Islands Savanna Burning for Greenhouse Gas Abatement project was registered with the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund, allowing Tiwi people to earn carbon credits.