Desert rangelands information will soon be available on the NatureMap website, the most comprehensive and authoritative source of information on the distribution of Western Australia’s flora and fauna.
Managed by the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW), the site is one of the main information sources for ecologists evaluating the threatened status of native fauna and is used by mining companies, developers and consultants when commencing surveys for environmental impact statements.
Rangelands NRM is supporting the development of a Desert Rangelands them page on Naturemap to ensure that agreed open data sets collected by desert traditional owners on their homelands are presented in a way that highlights how desert custodians collect information.
In doing so, the desert rangelands data sets collected between 2008 and 2013 by people from Martu, Kiwirrikurra, Ngurrurpa, Birriliburu, Wiluna and Spinifex countries will be preserved and publicly available.
Rangelands NRM Program Manager Desert and Pilbara, Chris Curnow said the interactive theme page would make use of information gathered in the Desert Rangelands biodiversity conservation project to further engage desert traditional owners in caring for country.
The new Desert Rangelands theme of NatureMap will make available the desert survey findings in a way that reflects desert people’s values around caring for country.
“This will help people gain an insight into the Traditional Owners understanding of their country, while increasing knowledge of threatened fauna species, water sources and other natural resources of WA’s vast deserts,” he said.
Desert wildlife conservation practitioner Alison McGilvray is preparing the content.
“The new theme will include descriptions given by Traditional Owners of their country and their connections to it, as well as information on non-culturally-sensitive desert water sources and an overview of the main threats to desert fauna,” she said.
It will present photos, videos and maps showing species occurrence for several key species including bilbies, great desert skink, bush turkey and the hill kangaroo, as well as feral animals such as cats, foxes and camels.
The new desert content is expected to be available by the end of 2015.
* Open data refers to the threatened species and water source information that is considered culturally safe for public access outside the confines of the various desert custodians.