The final report from the 2020 North Australian Savanna Fire Forum is now online.
The 2020 forum attracted a diverse audience of over 320 people from across Australia who gathered on Larrakia country at Charles Darwin University from 18-19 February. There was a very high level of interest in the forum and tickets sold out well in advance. Participants said that networking is a key driver for participating in the forum and we heard first-hand many great stories of amazing connections being made at the forum.
Building on the 2019 forum, Indigenous-led discussions and presentations by Indigenous fire managers gave proper context to knowledge sharing and were a key highlight for many participants. Presentations by scientists, Indigenous land managers, government representatives and carbon industry experts provided plenty of information for discussion. This is something the working group would like to continue to support in future, but with fewer presentations and more targeted forums for discussion.
Nearly all participants said that they agreed that the forum was a great success; that their expectations of the forum were either met or exceeded; that they enjoyed the forum and that they would recommend it to other people in their field.
The Indigenous Carbon Industry Network was proud to host the forum with the support of the working group and supporters. The working group will explore options for a 2021 forum given the rapidly changing circumstances brought by the COVID-19 crisis.
Key lessons of the forum
- Indigenous fire managers are collaborating with scientists, conservation groups and government agencies to lead world’s best practice savanna fire management across north Australia. The strong collaboration across the savanna fire management industry remains a cornerstone of its success.
- We all seek to continuously improve fire management across Australia and the world by working together to learn from each other.
- Listening to Traditional Owners and supporting the capacity of Indigenous groups to manage fire is critical to ensuring fire management programs are successful.
- Women have an important role to play as fire managers and should be included in fire management planning, research and practice. Indigenous women ranger networks are forming across north Australia to support this.
- Climate change presents a risk to fire managers and fire programs as more extreme heat events and higher average temperatures drive worsening fire weather.
- Collecting evidence to show the impact of fire management upon biodiversity that is scientifically rigorous is complex, expensive and intensive, but scientists can support this by working together with Traditional Owners to ensure traditional knowledge and cultural protocols are properly recognized.
- Resourcing Indigenous-led scientific research and tools such as the NAFI Fire North website is critical to measuring the success of fire management and monitoring outcomes. Peer-to-peer training between different Indigenous ranger groups provides an opportunity to share understanding and build the capacity of rangers.
- There are diverse and significant challenges in managing fire on such vast areas of land in very remote areas, however the carbon industry offers opportunities to offset the cost of fire management and potentially generate other benefits for communities through savanna carbon farming.
- There are some common misconceptions about savanna carbon farming – it is important that we all strive to increase awareness so that our conversations are properly informed. The carbon market is complex which can make it difficult to understand or access, however there are a range of communication tools and best practice standards which can assist. It is important to understand what the costs, benefits, risks and opportunities are, as well as your rights and responsibilities.
- Savanna fire management is currently under valued in dollar terms, but by demonstrating the benefits of your work and linking these to an established framework, you can attract investment to support your fire program.
- The savanna fire management industry is strong and growing, as demonstrated by the huge level of interest in this forum.
Thanks to major supporters the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation, the Australian Government Community Environment Program, The Nature Conservancy, Indigenous Carbon Industry Network and the Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research, Charles Darwin University; as well as booth sponsors Gamba Grass Roots, the Queensland Government and the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.
To access photos, videos and presentations from the forum go to www.savannafireforum.net