The importance of campfires to effective conservation

Standley, Peta-Marie (2019) The importance of campfires to effective conservation. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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The knowledge base for contemporary fire management in Australia, and indeed Internationally, is not static. However, knowledge generation, for the most part, is dominated by western technical scholarship and constructs of planning, management and analysis. Annual and increasing catastrophic wildfire events leave no doubt that Australia has a fire management problem. There are many ways of knowing about and understanding fire within contemporary fire management practice, and research and Indigenous Australian knowledge systems make a valuable contribution to contemporary fire management. Indeed, some consider that the fire management practices of Indigenous people over 80,000 years shaped the current biota in Australia. This research project provides valuable insight into the depth of fire management knowledge that was held by two senior Kuku Thaypan Awu Alaya speaking Elders and fire knowledge holders, Dr George and Dr Musgrave. The Elders wanted to document and demonstrate their Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and their cultural practice of fire, their traditional cultural fire knowledge (TCFK) in the landscape for the management of their country and to maintain their cultural obligations. The Kuku Thaypan Elders also desired to increase opportunities that enabled them to be involved in and have an impact on contemporary fire management, particularly in caring for their country in Cape York Peninsula.

Documentation of the Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of the Elders classification system as it relates to fire management required analysis of the different ways of knowing and managing fire in Cape York and Australia, more broadly. It was necessary to analyse the political and institutional frameworks and current ways of understanding and practicing fire that exist. This includes discussion on state practice of fire management and Indigenous cultural fire knowledge (ICFK) and its practice. This analysis provides discussion on the theory of Traditional Ecological knowledge in documenting cultural fire knowledge and its practice. Documenting the TCFK of the Elders required the development of a methodology that would enable different ways of communicating that TCFK and its use for fire management. The methodology that was developed for this purpose and is described in this thesis is the CAMPFIRES methodology. The methodology is designed to support agencies, researchers, fire managers and practitioners to 'see and act' in the World differently, while also providing a research practitioner model informed by Indigenous people to assist them in enabling their voice, speaking their knowledge and leading the application, documentation and analysis of their cultural fire knowledge in contemporary fire management and research. This thesis provides discussion on the multiple ways in which Indigenous Australians are engaging in contemporary fire management practice and its research and provides considerations for institutional reform required to fully realise the benefits of Indigenous peoples' involvement in contemporary fire management through the application of their traditional cultural fire knowledge (TCFK).

Item ID: 64274
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: bush fires, fire management, Indigenous knowledge, Aboriginal Australian knowledge, wildfires, Cape York, traditional owners, cultural knowledge
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2019 Peta-Marie Standley.
Sensitivity Note: Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers should be aware that this document contains images and names of people who have since passed over. This dissertation contains names, images and references to deceased persons.
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2020 03:04
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Knowledge @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
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