The power of Traditional knowledges to care for land and Country

Indigenous knowledge informing our modern world
The power of Traditional knowledges to care for land and Country

This event is part of the Australian Academy of Science 2023 public speaker series “Looking back, moving forward: Caring for land and Country“.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have lived in harmony with the land for tens of thousands of years, and have an intimate understanding of their local environments, built on centuries of observation and interaction with the land. Traditional knowledges encompass a wealth of information about local flora, fauna, weather patterns and ecological processes.

Indigenous land management practices often have a holistic and sustainable approach to the environment. Methods such as controlled burning, selective harvesting, rotational farming, seasonal resource management and community-based decision-making have been shown to promote biodiversity, restore ecosystems and maintain the health of habitats, ensuring the long-term availability of natural resources without depleting them.

By integrating Indigenous methods with non-Indigenous science, we can tap into this invaluable knowledge to enhance our understanding of ecosystems and develop more effective land management and conservation strategies.


Ms Shandell Cummings will speak about how Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) has been key to caring for Country for thousands of years. She believes these processes must continue to occur, and the strongest chance we have is through intergenerational knowledge transfer (IKT) practices that are still conducted today.

Dr Fiona Walsh will speak about the phenomenon of ‘fairy circles’ and how Aboriginal people’s art and knowledge has helped scientists better understand Australia’s desert ecosystems. She will discuss how strands of Aboriginal people’s knowledge are woven with science-derived methods and findings to interpret a spatial pattern widespread across desert Australia but largely invisible to visitors and hotly contested internationally.

Photo by Germane Jaws on Unsplash

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