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Capertee cool burn ignites interest in traditional land management

The Mingaan Wiradjuri Aboriginal Corporation, Capertee Valley Landcare and Central Tablelands Local Land Services are working in partnership to ignite interest in traditional cool burn land management techniques.

More than sixty participants from Landcare and Aboriginal organisations took part in a workshop at Glen Davis property ‘Gnamperi’ this winter, with some travelling from as far away as Lithgow, Mudgee, Orange and Dubbo to learn more about the use of fire in land management.

Greg Ingram, Senior Land Services Officer (Indigenous Communities) said the aim was to educate Aboriginal community members and landholders about traditional burning methodologies and techniques.

“We want to gain a better understanding on how to use fire as a cultural land management tool,” said Greg.

Preliminary findings from previous cool burn trials indicate fire management can be a useful tool for increasing biodiversity with vegetation responding well to the regime.

Central Tablelands Local Land Services carried out a cool burn on a site at Yetholme back in autumn 2018 with the aim of improving habitat for the rare purple copper butterfly.

Follow up monitoring at the site found increased regeneration of the native blackthorn bush bursaria spinosa which is the exclusive food source for the purple copper butterfly.

“At the sites that were burnt the bushes now have more fresh green foliage, which is more palatable for the butterfly larvae, and easier for them to climb on to when they crawl up from the ground at night to feed,” reported Senior Local Land Services officer, Allan Wray.

“We also counted greater numbers of copper butterfly larvae at Yetholme, suggesting that the cool burn regime is beneficial for the regeneration of bursaria plants and habitat for the purple copper butterfly.”

The cool burn workshop held this year at Capertee was also an opportunity to promote and share Wiradjuri culture with a ‘welcome to country’ and a smoking ceremony delivered by the Wiradjuri Astronomy group, along with a bush tucker lunch and a performance by the Woongadine traditional Wiradjuri dancers.

The workshop was organised by Central Tablelands Local Land Services and was supported by Glen Davis Rural Fire Service volunteers.

Central Tablelands Local Land Service is committed to working with the Wiradjuri people and other local indigenous groups to celebrate the importance of Aboriginal cultural heritage and to enhance and share traditional knowledge with the wider community.