Together with our project partners BMT Global, Biotropica has been contracted by the Qld Co-ordinator General’s Department for the past three years to undertake a number of capacity-building projects with the Juru people of the Bowen area. Based around the Kaili Valley Wetlands, Juru trainees have completed a number of land management projects including native plant propagation and maintenance, weed control, ecological restoration, direct seeding trials, monitoring turtle nesting and feral animal control. The group’s area of responsibility encompasses a range of plant communities Eucalyptus and Melaleuca woodlands, littoral vine forest, samphires, and wetlands dominated by Schoenoplectus. Some of these ecosystems are fire-adapted, but others have been negatively impacted by inappropriate fire and their recovery requires protection from all fires.
In May 2018, Juru trainees took responsibility for conducting the first ecological burn in their project area. With assistance from Biotropica and BMT Global, trainees mapped and constructed fire breaks that were designed to protect littoral vine forest and stimulate recovery of woodland previously degraded by rubber vine. The local Rural Fire Service provided fire-fighting equipment and four staff to assist Juru trainees with the burn, which was co-ordinated by Biotropica personnel. In June 2018, the group burnt a total of 6.4ha in two areas, gaining first-hand experience in all aspects of on-ground fire management.
Biotropica personnel have extensive experience instructing and mentoring indigenous groups in various land management techniques. These projects have been undertaken across Queensland’s Wet Tropics and Cape York bioregions and in Papua New Guinea and has involved in-house production of specialist booklets and training materials.