Biodiversity data collected by Indigenous rangers is presented in Canberra

18 March 2013

I-Tracker, short for Indigenous Tracker, is an initiative of the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd (NAILSMA) that helps Indigenous land and sea managers work together to collect and manage information across northern Australia. I-Tracker is a key component of Northern Australia hub projects that are engaging Indigenous people as co-researchers. meeting1

With a growing workforce of over 700 Indigenous rangers, the data collected is highly relevant to government decision makers. Using rugged handheld touch screen computers, rangers collect important information about natural and cultural resources. Patrol applications are custom built in collaboration with rangers and communities to monitor things like wildlife, fire, weeds, feral animals, marine debris and water quality.

Two of the Northern Australia hub’s projects are using I-Tracker technology and developing dedicated biodiversity monitoring tools that incorporate the best available scientific information:

In March, a delegation of Northern Australia hub researchers and Indigenous rangers met with staff from several sections of the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, and staff from the office of Environment Minister Tony Burke.

Project leader Rod Kennett from NAILSMA said it was good opportunity to understand the priorities and responsibilities of the many sections of the department, and explore how they align with Indigenous priorities.

“It is clear that the data collected by Indigenous rangers using I-Tracker is of major relevance to a range of departmental responsibilities beyond Indigenous Protected Areas and Working on Country,” Dr Kennett said.

“Other areas of alignment include the assessment of species and ecological communities; delivery of Threat Abatement Plans and Recovery Plans; the identification of Biologically Important Areas such as in bioregional marine plans; and in delivering management activities in the newly declared national marine reserves network.

“SEWPAC staff were very impressed by the detail of data collected by rangers and were particularly interested in working with the Northern Australia hub and Indigenous rangers in a targeted way to improve the uptake of Indigenous collected data into SEWPAC’s environmental assessments and decision making.”

For more information about the outputs available from the program, please email or phone (08) 8946 6271.

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