Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill (far
right) with Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation Rangers
and staff including Chairman Bawurr Munyarryun (seated left) and
Senior Ranger Nanikiya Munungurritj (standing beside the Minister)
marking the declaration of Dhimurru IPA.
AROUND 100,000 hectares of ecologically and culturally
significant land in north-east Arnhem Land was declared an
Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) in March.
The Dhimurru IPA is the first such agreement in the Northern
Territory, and the thirteenth to be declared in Australia. This
brings the total of Indigenous owned lands managed as IPAs to 3.1
The Natural Heritage Trust has granted $110,000 of funding to
Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation to assist with
establishing and managing the IPA. The IPA program is a
Commonwealth initiative funded through the Natural Heritage Trust.
Under the program, indigenous landowners commit to manage their
lands as part of Australia’s National Reserve System. In
return, landowners receive funding and technical support to manage
The Dhimurru IPA contains a vast diversity of plant, animal and
sealife, some species of which are thought to occur only in the
IPA. Ecological systems include sand dunes, grasslands, monsoon
rainforest, mangroves, saline swamps, open forest, woodlands,
pandanus swamp, and riparian forest. The IPA also includes coastal
zones which cover territory of several threatened turtle species
and the nesting and feeding habitats for numerous sea birds.
The major management issues are visitor pressures on recreation
areas, rehabilitation from past uncontrolled vehicle access, and
wildlife protection and research including monitoring the impact of
marine debris on threatened turtle populations.
The Dhimurru Indigenous Protected Area takes its name from the
Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation, formed in 1992 to
represent the interests of the 14 clan groups which have links to
the Dhimurru lands.