Restoring cultural plant communities at sacred water sites

Valerie Caron, Jayne Brim Box, Veronica P. Dobson, Victor Dobson, Luke Richmond, Ross M. Thompson, Fiona Dyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Water places have been critical to central Australian Indigenous peoples for thousands of years. However, many waterhole communities have been degraded by factors including invasion by large feral herbivores and non-native plants. We document the restoration of two waterholes near Santa Teresa (Ltyentye Apurte), with a focus on culturally significant plants. We described plant communities around waterholes in 2007, before fences were erected to exclude large feral animals, and again in 2018. Plant cover and diversity were higher after fencing and the occurrence of culturally significant plants greatly increased. However, invasive buffel grass was the dominant ground cover after fencing and will require active suppression to allow culturally significant native plants to proliferate. Traditional Owners identified excellent opportunities to achieve restoration through educating young people, with a focus on sharing intergenerational knowledge and engaging local Indigenous rangers in management, enabling them to meet the traditional obligations to care for country.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-79
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Journal of Water Resources
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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