The 10 Deserts Project

Extending across ten deserts, these globally significant arid lands are home to an exceptional diversity of animals and plants including over 80 threatened plants and animals (such as bilbies and rock wallabies).  The area also has immense cultural value largely as a result of 50,000 years of continuous occupation by Indigenous people.  Despite being relatively intact, these unique desert ecosystems and the values they contain are under increasing threat due to inadequate resources for land management activities, invasive exotic weeds and introduced pests, changed fire regimes, climate change and the movement off country over the past 150 years of the lands’ traditional custodians.

The 10 Deserts Project, led by Desert Support Services, aims to build the capacity of Indigenous groups to look after country for a range of economic, social, cultural and environmental outcomes.

It will integrate contemporary natural resource management best-practice with traditional cultural and ecological knowledge and establish systems and approaches, including long-term financing and market enabling strategies that will build environmental resilience across the desert landscape.

Underpinning the project is the development of an active, representative network for Indigenous land management groups across the desert for the long term- the Indigenous Desert Alliance (IDA).

Collaborative land management

The 10 Deserts Project is the largest connected network of protected areas in the world with 173 areas recognised as a part of the National Reserve System and the largest network of Indigenous-managed lands in the world with a total of 21 Indigenous Protected Areas.

The project provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate collective action to build environmental resilience at an unprecedented scale worldwide, led by Indigenous organisations with the support of external stakeholders.  Strategic collaborations and coordinated responses to key threats will be transformational in assisting Indigenous organisations to develop new and creative responses to challenges of low capacity and landscape scale management.

Strategies, activities and outcomes

10 Deserts Project StrategiesThe overarching strategies, activities and outcomes for the project is represented as a house.  The roof is the long term outcomes of the project.

The project activities associated with achieving the outcomes are the structure of house supporting the roof.  These include:

  1. Capacity building – ranger exchanges, forums, training for ranger teams, leadership training for the IDA board and rangers
  2. Supporting ranger teams – developing emerging ranger teams
  3. Fire management – regional strategy, capacity building and targeted responses
  4. Feral camel management – regional planning and operations
  5. Buffel Free GVD – managing buffel grass in the Great Victoria Desert
  6. Carbon and co-benefits – exploring revenue opportunities from carbon farming, social and environmental benefits
  7. Regional tourism – managing tourism and harnessing economic opportunities
  8. Indigenous cultural and ecological knowledge – supporting intergenerational transfer amongst Indigenous people

The foundation of the house is the creation of a strong voice and network for Indigenous land management organisations in the desert – the Indigenous Desert Alliance.

Steering Committee

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