Stories in this Theme


Wildfire causes major losses to ground cover, and is a key contributor to erosion of Cape York’s fragile soils, to sedimentation of water ways, and to poorer water quality on Cape York.  It also results in reduced biodiversity and a reduction of suitable grazing country.

Damian and Di Cullenward are farmers from Eugowra, Central NSW.

Damian grew up in the west of the state, and continues to spend time there as a farm contractor.

Damian has drawn attention from his surrounding farming community for the interesting work he carries out on his property. The land had been intensively farmed for a decade prior to his ownership, and sections of the land of were struggling with the impacts of overgrazing, weed infestation and  historic chemical use.

Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation has recently completed a report Kaanju Fire Management 2003, funded by the Cape York Peninsula Development Association (CYPDA) Fire Project through Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation. The report investigates a number of issues including:

Case Study of Fire Management and related costs for Elsey Station (1999).

A ground-breaking partnership between Olkola Aboriginal Corporation, Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire Council and Natural Carbon, will see early season burning of over 13 000 square kilometres of Cape York savanna country using traditional burning practices.
Tree hollows are naturally-occurring holes in living or dead trees. Hollows form in many species but are most abundant in eucalypts. Termite activity, storms and fire contribute to both the formation and destruction of tree hollows.

Weeds are introduced plants that reproduce or even proliferate unaided. Most weeds are exotic, however native plants can also be considered weeds if introduced outside of their natural range. In many cases it is not for many years, or even decades after a plant’s introduction that it is considered a weed as they tend to be recognised as such only when they have already spread.

Environmental weeds are plants that represent a threat to the conservation values of natural ecosystems.


The understorey shrub layer is an important component of many vegetation communities across the Northern Territory. Unlike grassy savannas, many forest and woodland communities feature either an open or more closed understorey shrub layer, especially in the Top End. Sometimes the shrub layer is the dominant vegetation stratum, particularly in the arid zone. In general, the structure, density and composition of the shrub layer are largely determined by rainfall, soil type and management history.


Landscapes are often thought of and described in terms of their tree layer, however it is usually the understorey that supports the widest range of wildlife. Grasses and herbs comprise most of the plant diversity in the majority of terrestrial communities across northern Australia. This is particularly the case in the tropical savannas. Some studies estimate that up to 90% of biodiversity is found in the understorey. 


The understorey ground layer typically supports the majority of the biodiversity of Northern Territory ecosystems. Native plants and most wildlife (perhaps with the exception of birds and some invertebrates) are all more numerous and diverse in the ground layer than in the overstorey.