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Aak Puul Ngantam Savanna Burning

Caring for country in the Western Cape York


Bounded by the Ward and Watson Rivers about 630 km northwest of Cairns, the community of Aurukun in the Western Cape York is home to over 1200 people. For tens of thousands of years, Traditional Custodians the Wik and Kugu people managed the area’s savannas strategically with fire. Without this management, intensely destructive fires tear through these ecosystems in the dry season – threatening wildlife, livestock and human communities.


Sustainable Development Goals

8. Decent work and economic growth

7-9 Indigenous rangers employed

from the local community, depending on the time of year

11. Sustainable communities and cities

2,500 km2 of remote country

now with mobile coverage thanks to two communications towers funded by the project

13. Climate Action

42,000 tonnes of CO2e

mitigated on average annually since 2015 by preventing and managing larger, hotter late dry season bushfires with strategic fire management

15. Life on land

370,500 hectares

managed by the project, supporting fire-dependent ecosystems and protecting the habitat of endemic Australian flora and fauna

The Solution

Operated by Indigenous-owned & directed not-for-profit Aak Puul Ngantam (APN Cape York) in partnership with Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation, the Aak Puul Ngantam Savanna Burning project comprises 370,000 hectares of land on Traditional Homelands. Project rangers implement planned ‘cool’ fires early in the dry season to reduce fuel loads, preventing more intense bushfires later on – thereby reducing emissions. APN Cape York have extensive skills in strategic savanna burning, with aerial and onground burning operations since 2013. The property is broken into zones, depending on how often areas need management; high traffic zones require burning every year, while others are burnt less frequently.


The Impact

As well as reducing emissions by controlling and preventing large, intense and uncontrollable bushfires, the Aak Puul Ngantam Savanna Burning project employs local Indigenous people as project rangers, engaging Wik and Kugu people in traditional practices to care for and connect with their ancestral homelands. Revenue raised from the sale of carbon credits supports a range of activities that APN Cape York runs alongside the carbon project – such as funding the installation of two communications towers to increase connectivity in the region. Rangers and others out on country can now travel knowing that they can call for assistance and keep in touch with family, even in extremely remote areas.

Project ID: 302635
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