Rangelands NRM Blog, News & Resources

Protection of malleefowl focus of new project in the Great Western Woodlands

[January 2014]

Members of Norseman’s Ngadju community are about to participate in a project that will protect and conserve the vulnerable malleefowl and care for key sites in the Great Western Woodlands of WA.

Mallefowl by Vicki McQuieFunded through Rangelands NRM’s Caring for our Country Sustainable Environment Program, and managed by Gondawna Link, the project aims to build the capacity of the Ngadju community to manage their traditional lands, including the protection and conservation of threatened species, with an initial focus on malleefowl, a ground dwelling bird with a ‘vulnerable’ conservation status.

Rangelands NRM Program Manager (Southern Rangelands) Ms Jane Bradley said an increased knowledge of critical malleefowl habitat management is needed across the internationally important Great Western Woodlands.

“It is hoped this more strategic and locally led, hands on approach to ecological management will prove successful,” Ms Bradley said.

“At the same time this work will contribute to a strengthening of the capacity of Ngadju to engage in conservation projects under the guidance of Gondwana Link that assists in merging traditional knowledge and western science,” she said.

The Ngadju people are the Traditional Owners and Custodians of a large section of the Great Western Woodlands. Local Ngadju have sought increased capacity to undertake work that addresses their environmental concerns.

Participation in initiatives to date have included an initial fire management program, a project mapping water trees, two significant knowledge documentation programs with CSIRO and involvement in development of a Conservation Action Plan that includes part of the western side of Ngadju country.

Peter Price, Project Manager for Gondwana Link, said the project builds on the work to-date, and will support development of a Conservation Action Plan (CAP) for the eastern part of the Great Western Woodlands.

“This will complement the Granite to Woodlands CAP, which includes the western part of the Ngadju Native Title area, that we developed with the respective Shires, mining companies and Traditional Owners in 2012/13, and provide an integrated plan and supported basis for further projects,” he said.

Ngadju will also be trained in malleefowl surveying techniques, undertake surveying of malleefowl presence and habitat within the Great Western Woodlands. The birds are a useful flagship species which will help Ngadju develop initial skills before doing similar work with more cryptic threatened species.

Mr Price said additional discussions currently underway may lead to this project having a key role in a national program to define critical management requirements for malleefowl.  For more information, contact Jane Bradley or Peter Price