West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement Project Follows Traditional Fire Management Methods to Control Climate Change

West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (WALFA) project focuses in reducing  damages caused by the natural savannah blazes. Its aim to protect the culture and the quality of the native lands has been acclaimed. The usage of conventional fire management techniques as a part of the ongoing battle against biodiversity loss and climate change is also highly appreciated.

More than 200 new jobs are intended to be introduced by the enterprise besides generating an annual carbon credit sale of at least 1 million tonnes. The experts who will be participating in the talks on climate change to be held in Copenhagen in the month of December suggest that similar projects can also be incorporated in the savannas of Africa. The money allotted for the WALFA project will also be used for community consultations, governance, scientific monitoring, measurement of emissions and capacity building.

Indigenous fire management that is currently supported with satellites helps to create fire breaks and patchy mosaics of burned and un-burned country by controlling early dry season fires. This practice helps in maximizing biodiversity protection and minimizing late dry season fires that are destructive.

Carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to 488,000 tonnes have been reduced in Northern Australia by the West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (WALFA) project. This reduction is equivalent to the annual average of 140,000 tonnes that is sold in the form of credits on the carbon exchange market possessing a current value of A$10 per tonne.

A landmark greenhouse gas offset agreement was led by the WALFA project. This is an agreement between the Northern Land Council, ConocoPhillips, traditional owners in West Arnhem Land and the Northern Territory in Australia. An annual generation of 100,000 tonnes of carbon credit will be generated by Traditional Owners from West Arnhem through conventional fire management employing Indigenous Rangers in order to initiate the offset of greenhouse gas emissions from ConocoPhilips’ liquefied natural gas plant in Darwin Harbor. The proposed Australian Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme will acknowledge the offsets.

Carbon Credits of more than 1 million tonnes is intended to be created as a part of the WALFA project by using $30 million towards the development and maintenance using Indigenous land managers. To obtain the required amount of $30 million, the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance has received $7.8 million from the government of Australia.

Joe Morrison, CEO remarks that this project will give rise to many job opportunities, and it will also lead to developments in tourism and other sustainable businesses. An inter-generational transfer of traditional knowledge will also be promoted by this project. Globally important issues such as the protection of landscapes, cultural heritage and biodiversity will also be enhanced by this project.

NAILSMA in collaboration with United Nations University intends to introduce guides, workshops, video materials and other kinds of sources to educate local communities about the importance of saving the tropical rainforests in the world. Konrad Osterwalder, Rector of UNU and UN Under Secretary-General, remarks that the knowledge gained from these experiences are precious as local communities can now take up measures to control climate change with the huge sums of money that is available to them. Professor Chris Justice from the NASA MODIS and the University of Maryland USA, states that the WALFA project will enable even the poorest African communities to play a vital role in reducing climate changes and it will also uplift the livelihood of these poor African communities.

The Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change was hosted in Alaska by the Inuit Circumpolar Council. This summit focused in forwarding recommendations and messages to the Copenhagen conference and it also aimed to enhance the communities’ participation in this conference that will indeed bring about a negotiation with a successor agreement to the Kyoto protocol. Indigenous peoples from all over the world who participated in this summit expressed their views, traditional practices and earlier impacts that helped them to enhance human lives and reduce climate changes.

Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, Chair of the peak UN body, remarked on the Indigenous issues by stating that climate change can be reduced by adopting ancient traditional methods practiced by indigenous peoples. Some of these methods include traditional methods of land stabilization, reclamation, weeding techniques, shoreline reinforcement, planting, transplanting and using ancient farming techniques to protect watersheds.  Apart from these methods the usage of a few traditional drought-related practices will also help in issues related to climate change. Simultaneously planting different varieties of crops, using small dam systems that are sophisticated to store rainfall and using appropriate food preservation strategies are some of the traditional drought-related practices that can be followed to control climate changes.

Source: http://www.unu.edu/

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