The Northern Tanami Indigenous Protected Area was dedicated in 2007 and covers around four million hectares of the northern Tanami Desert. In areas where the desert meets sub-tropical savannah, there are also wetlands are teeming with life. This vast IPA is managed from the small community of Lajamanu in the Northern Territory — 900 kilometres south of Darwin.
Around two-thirds of the IPA is of high conservation value and has been identified as a biodiversity conservation ‘hotspot’. The land is a refuge for vulnerable species including the greater bilby and great desert skink, and is a haven for the endangered Gouldian finch. The IPA also supports more than 30 threatened species of plants, and includes vast areas of hummock grassland which is otherwise poorly protected in the Northern Territory.
This region’s healthy ecosystems are the result of generations of Indigenous owners caring for country. Today’s IPA activities continue land management practices that stretch back tens of thousands of years. Traditional ways of managing the land, like controlled burning, are used alongside contemporary land management activities.
The North Tanami Rangers carry out the day to day work of controlling threats from wildfire, weeds and feral animals. Controlled burning prevents property damage as well as reducing the impact of wildfire to ecologically and culturally important areas. Rangers also monitor native wildlife, control pests and fence off key areas to protect native species habitats and areas of cultural significance.