Resilience in Knowledge: unpacking adaptation strategies on Erub Island, Torres Strait

McNamara, Karen, Westoby, Ross, and Parnell, Kevin (2010) Resilience in Knowledge: unpacking adaptation strategies on Erub Island, Torres Strait. Report. Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

Torres Strait Islanders have long been managing their land and sea country. In this vein, they have also been adapting to changes in their local environments since time immoral. Researchers funded by MTSRF Project 1.3.1 'Traditional knowledge systems and climate change in Torres Strait' have attempted to chart Islanders' actions or activities, adopted in the past and present, to adapt to environmental changes by working with community Elders and Aunties on Erub Island, located in the eastern group of islands of Torres Strait. The project team also worked with some younger Islanders to ensure their collective voice was also heard on the future management of Erub Island. As such, those views are also documented in this report.

This report examines and synthesises knowledge from Elders and Aunties of Erub Island, as well as the voice and views of young Islanders. Such knowledge includes the actions and activities that have been employed in the past and present to adapt to environmental changes, including climate and seasonal changes. This information can shed light on Erub Islanders' ways of adapting to changes in the future. The aim of this research was to identify the adaptation strategies (actions and/or activities) that Islanders themselves believe are appropriate for their community, drawing on past and present knowledge. Our role, as the research team, was to document and synthesise beliefs and knowledge, which exist in the pages that follow of this report. Key themes of adaptation that have emerged from the Elders, Aunties and young Islanders include the utilisation of local materials for rock walls, wind breaks and houses; revegetation of areas to combat erosion; reestablishment of fish traps and gardening; the development of social capital, especially women working together; reignition of reading and respecting landscapes; and capacity to transfer knowledge.

In reflecting on these adaptation strategies, this report makes comment on the social resilience of Erub Island as a community. In other words, and given the knowledge about adaptation strategies, the overall ability of communities to cope with change and disruption. It is hoped that the findings of this research can be used as a toolkit by those responsible for planning for future generations to further increase the adaptive capacity and overall resilience of the Erub Island community.

Item ID: 42489
Item Type: Report (Report)
Funders: Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF)
Projects and Grants: MTSRF 1.3.1 Traditional knowledge systems and climate change in Torres Strait
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2016 05:55
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Knowledge @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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