There are many activities going on around the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area where Aboriginal people are leading, and involved in, on-ground management of their country. Rainforest Aboriginal people actively seek more opportunities to become involved.
Through collaborative partnerships and cooperative management arrangements, Rainforest Aboriginal organisations have successfully created employment and business opportunities for their people. This means that customary and contemporary land management knowledge can be used to continue cultural responsibilities for country with the Wet Tropics.
Country based planning enables Rainforest Aboriginal groups to define their own vision, values, strategies and actions for their traditional lands. A country-based plan can be developed at various scales e.g. tribal area, clan area, family area or across multiple estate areas.
Once a plan is developed, it provides a framework for Rainforest Aboriginal people to negotiate partnerships with government agencies and/or other partners and apply for funding to actively manage their traditional lands.
The Indigenous Protected Areas (IPA) program was established in 1997 to help Indigenous communities to voluntarily dedicate their land or sea country as an IPA.
Most IPAs are dedicated under International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Categories 5 and 6, which promote a balance between conservation and other sustainable uses to deliver social, cultural and economic benefits for local Indigenous communities. IPAs are also recognised as part of the National Reserve System, protecting the nation’s biodiversity for the benefit of all Australians.
IPA agreements combine traditional and contemporary knowledge to help establish economic and conservation projects and in turn provide employment, education and training opportunities for Indigenous people.
Three IPA’s overlap the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area:
- Mandingalbay Yidinji IPA
- Girringun IPA
- Eastern Kuku Yalanji IPA
The Queensland Government Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger program and the Commonwealth Government Working on Country program increase Indigenous participation in environmental management through employment.
Land and Sea Rangers undertake cultural heritage site management, protected species monitoring and conservation, feral animal management, fire management, erosion control, habitat restoration, weed control, planning and management.
The following Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers groups operate within and adjacent to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area:
- Djunbunji Rangers (Mandingalbay Yidinji)
- Jabalbina Rangers (Eastern Kuku Yalanji)
- Gunggandji Rangers (Gunggandji)
- Dawul Waru Rangers (Yirrganydji)
- Girringun Rangers (Girringun Aboriginal Corporation)
- Mandubarra Rangers (Mamu)
- Bulmba Rangers (Djabugay)
- Gimuy Rangers (Gimuy Walubara Yidinji)
A number of Rainforest Aboriginal people are also employed as Rangers with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.