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Indigenous Australians Fight Climate Change with Fire - 2011

Author:  S Heckbert J Russell-Smith A Resson G James
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CSIRO scientist Garry Cook collects smoke samples

CSIRO scientist Garry Cook collects smoke samples

Scott Heckbert, Jeremy Russell-Smith, Andrew Reeson, Glenn James

In Australia’s northern savannas, Indigenous traditional knowledge is contributing to landscape fire management, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and providing a suite of ecosystem services. The West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (WALFA) project is a prime example of scientists, governments, Indigenous land managers, and carbon markets connecting to provide innovative solutions to resource management and economic development. The WALFA project reduces greenhouse gas emissions through prescribed burning of savannas, generating revenues by providing offsets to the regional energy industry. Under modest carbon prices, this type of fire management could be economically viable across tens of millions of hectares and could provide desirable employment and economic development in remote regions in Australia and fire-prone savanna ecosystems elsewhere.

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