Cultural land management | Natural Hazards Research Australia

Cultural land management

Research theme

Learning from disasters

Project type

Commissioned research

Project status


This project is part of the Black Summer research program funded by the Commonwealth Government through the 10-year extension of funding into natural hazard research in Australia.

Project details

Building engagement with and participation of indigenous land management groups in natural hazard management recognises the need for growing Indigenous community resilience, well-being and capability in this vision. South eastern Australia and the north of Australia are geographic areas of particular interest with extensive, though differing experience with contemporary fire and land management. The disastrous conflagrations in the south east and indeed nationwide, combined with a highly significant resurgence of Indigenous knowledge and practice in managing fire, have fuelled this interest in exploring ways in which indigenous land and fire managers and emergency management agencies might collaboratively raise the capability and reduce the risk and impact of bushfires. There are many questions about how and on what basis collaborations might be built. This project will scope and recommend key areas of research to inform and drive better models for collaboration in emergency management in the future.

The Cultural land management project has been split into two streams to cover north and southeast Australia:

1. Indigenous fire and land management: impact and sustainability - Ricky Archer, North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd (NAILSMA)

Through this project stream, NAILSMA held a series of discussions and workshops with Indigenous communities in northern Australia, engaging emergency management agencies in this work and exploring key themes in existing and better land and fire management scenarios.

The project stream found that integrating Indigenous fire and land management knowledge with emergency management operations and systems is not about taking the knowledge; rather, it’s about building respectful and trusting relationships with Indigenous people to deliver more effective emergency management together.

Read the final report here.

2. Cultural land management in southeast Australia - Dr Katharine Haynes, University of Wollongong

This project stream explored how to empower and enable Indigenous-led cultural fire and land management practices to improve landscape management and community resilience in southeast Australia.

The report makes 10 recommendations for actions by Natural Hazards Research Australia and research partners to support cultural land management and Indigenous-led and co-designed research programs into the future.

Read the final report here.