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Indigenous Ecology Symposium blends local and scientific knowledge

Thursday 20 February 2014 10:37am

Marion Johnson (160)The Centre’s Marion Johnson recently attended ECOTAS 13, which is the joint conference of the NZ Ecological Society and the Ecological Society of Australia.

Marion had a paper in the Indigenous Ecology Symposium entitled “Transforming Agriculture with Native Plants and Indigenous Knowledge”.

“What was great about the Indigenous Ecology symposium was that we were all out there thinking about practical solutions to today’s problems and ways to address them that have multiple benefits,” says Marion.

"Also every project was completely involved with the communities from kauris to coastlines land and fire. Two young aboriginals (Maritza and Keifer), who are keen to become rangers, opened our session talking about their communities in Northern Queensland. Other speakers included Gerry Turpin who is setting up an Ethnobotanical centre, Oliver Costello discussing aspects of cultural burning and Rebecca Philipps who discussed the progress being made on the inclusion of aboriginal thought in parks Victoria.

“There was also a presentation on the Tiwi carbon project where Tiwi islanders are studying traditional burning and greenhouse gas emissions and coming up with solutions to benefit all.”

New Zealand speakers included Juliane Chetham, who talked about Maori cultural health indicators for kauri, and Huhana Smith on the Mānaki Taha Moana project.

“The symposium showed that local knowledge and scientific knowledge can be melded in many ways and are equally valuable in providing solutions to today’s environmental problems,” says Marion.