Uluru Management By Raquel

What is it?

Uluru is a famous Australian landmark oriented in Alice Springs, Northern Territory. The longitude and latitude is 25.3444° S, 131.0369° E and it is in the middle of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Uluru is listed as a world heritage site and has over 1000 tourists visiting it every year. One of the main traditional land owners of Uluru are called Anangu, together with the government they own and protect Uluru.

Who Owns it?

On the 26 of October 1985, the governor general returned Uluru to its traditional owners, the Anangu people, and ever since then together the government and Anangu people have been protecting it for the generations to come through joint management. The start of this was making Uluru, and the area around it a national park called Uluru-Kata Tjuru National Park. Although it is now protected, since as part of the agreement when the general returned it the Anangu people had to lease it to the government for 99 years, so the government still allows it to be a tourist attraction because of the rise in economy in insures. The Anangu people still live there and try to encourage the tourists to not climb the rock for its very disrespectful to their culture and the site is very spiritual for them.

The Anangu People

The reason the land is so special to the Anangu people is because of their dream time stories. They believe that their ancient ancestors created Uluru and other creatures of myth shaped and marked it like the Serpent Woman who left a gash in the rock and the ancient warriors who created the indents with their powerful spears. As part of their culture, they want to preserve Uluru and it's stories for the generations to come. This is why it is so disrespectful for them when people walk all over their sacred rock.

Australian Government Mangagement

Since the foreigners first came, they have harmed Uluru, now together teams of scientists, environmentalists and park rangers work with the Anangu people to preserve, restore and protect Uluru. Three main areas of management are fire, weed and feral animal control. Another largely debated topic is allowing people to climb Uluru.

Fire Mangagement

One of the important tasks that are partaken as part of the management program, is back burning in cooler months at specific times in very controlled amounts. This allows the plants that need fire to grow, it depletes the amount of fuel an actual bush fire could use, preventing dangerous bushfires. Another way that fire is managed is by diminishing the amount of foliage there is. Two plants in particular which are managed are Spinifex and Mulga. Spinifex grows in rainfall like normal grass, but what makes it different is the fact that it doesn't blow away, but continues to grow as well as being very flammable. The fires this plant causes because of how spread it is can affect birds, reptiles and small mammals. The way this is controlled is by doing something that the Anangu people had been doing far before English came, patch burning. Mulga are quite different to Spinifex, firstly it is a type of tree and secondly it isn't at risk of starting a fire, but perishing in one. Mulga tress take between 10-20 years to be able to produce seeds which then need heat and about 3 months of rain fall to germinate. As a consequence it takes a very long time for them to regrow and because herbs and grasses are likely to grow around them, there is quite a big chance of them burning prematurely and not reproducing. Luckily the time frame for any fires to occur is quite slim and is followed by 6 months of rain, but just to be on the safe side the park rangers put fire breaks around the young Mulga.

Effectiveness of the Management Plans

In total because of the plans put in effect, there hasn't been a terrible bushfire since 1976. This means a lot of plants have been able to repopulate and animals are less endangered. Therefore the fire management plan is achieving everything it is meant to.

Future of Uluru

In the future, because of the cultural awareness and action being taken today, i think climbing will be banned or at least a fine will have to be paid to climb it. On the grounds of what the goals at the present are for the management plans and their current progress, the amount of feral cats will most likely decrease as well as the other feral animals and there should be less flora issues like the weed and Mulga tree issues. There will still be plenty of tourists because it is heritage listed but because climbing could be prohibited the number may decrease.

Conclusion

In conclusion it is clear that the plans for Uluru are going in the right direction. There has already been so much improvement there is no doubt that soon the issues of the present will be dealt with while still allowing the Anangu to keep their spiritual connection and culture alive as well as educating those who visit Uluru about it.

  • BibliographyDepartment of Environment and Energy 2017, Conserving Uluru-Kata Tjutu, Australian Government, Australia, accessed 18 March 2017, <https://www.environment.gov.au/topics/national-parks/uluru-kata-tjuta-national-park/management-and-conservation/conserving-uluru>.
  • Fire Management 2017, Australian Government, Pdf, accessed 19 March 2017, <https://parksaustralia.gov.au/uluru/pub/fs-firemanagement.pdf>.
  • Indigenous Perspective on Sustainability 2007, radio program, ABC Australia, Sydney, 8 October.
  • ‘Meet Uluru's Traditional Owners’ 2015, television program, BTN, ABC Television, Sydney, 27 October.

Credits:

Created with images by Walkerssk - "uluru australia monolith" • flok85 - "ayers rock uluru australia" • Steve Slater (used to be Wildlife Encounters) - "bush fire arty" • collusion - "Less is More"

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