Martu living deserts

Conserving part of the world’s largest intact desert.

Martu country in the Western Desert is a place of global conservation significance, rich in biodiversity and cultural value. Spanning an area twice the size of Tasmania, Martu country includes parts of the Great Sandy, Little Sandy and Gibson Deserts.

Martu people have maintained a strong physical and cultural connection to their country for thousands of years but they needed support to manage it. That’s when The Nature Conservancy, working in partnership with BHP Billiton and Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (representing Martu interests), formed the Martu Living Deserts Project. The project assists Martu people continue their remarkable connection to country combining modern science with Indigenous ecological knowledge.


Reinstating traditional cool season burning

Through the project, Martu ranger teams:

  • Manage feral herbivores and predators.
  • Conduct cool season burns that are smaller and less intense than hot summer wild fires and result in a more diverse range of habitats for wildlife.
  • Clean waterholes.
  • Protect threatened species like rock-wallabies.
  • Engage with tourists at major camping sites along the Canning Stock Route.

Find out more about how The Nature Conservancy continues to work with Martu to bring back the bilby and monitor sacred waterholes.

Click here to view the special edition of CSIRO Publishing’s The Rangeland Journal on the Martu Living Deserts Project

We would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Land we help to conserve and pay respect to the Elders both past and present.

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