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Stakeholders of the Kakadu National Park

Discuss About The Threatened Ecological Communities In Kakadu.

Kakadu National Park is one of the oldest living culture and a protected area in the Northern territory of Australia. This area is occupied by the aboriginals for 40,000 years and takes pride in the rich tradition and heritage. It is an old landscape covering an area of 20,000 square kilometers with appealing beauty and distinctive biodiversity. It is one among those few areas, which are termed as World Heritage Site for their special natural and enlightening value. This area gives shelter to a wide range of unique flora and fauna, which are on the verge of extinction (Andersen, Humphrey & Braby, 2014).

This report will focus on the stakeholders of the Kakadu National Park and their role in the management, application and values of sustainability principles at the site. The following sections will look into the overview of ownership and the relationship between cultural heritage and tourism management at the particular site. In the course of this report, current sustainability principles will be analyzed critically to find out the issues of cultural heritage management and provided recommended solutions at the end.  

Kakadu national park is an internationally acclaimed landscape, which consists of the aboriginals as the major population. At present, it is maintained by the director of national parks and the traditional landowners of the aboriginal community. The remaining area of the park, which is not owned by the aboriginals, is treated as commonwealth land. The management of the park is controlled by the Kakadu Board of Management (Anstee et al., 2015).

This national heritage park consists of stakeholders who are both custodians of a rich cultural landscape and knowledge brokers and gatekeepers. The stakeholders mainly include the tourism industry, indigenous and non- indigenous host community and the host government as well. The sustainability principles at the park are largely dependent on the national and international authorities, codes, conventions, declarations and charters, which play significant role in the values, management and sustainability principles at the park. Moreover, the other stakeholders of the park include the Federal Governments Indigenous Business Australia, the traditional landowners who are affected by tourism in Kakadu and the Accor Hotel Group, which manages different facilities at the park (Boyden et al., 2018). This report will shed light on the positive indigenous outcomes of Bininj people of the park. In accordance with the charter of the Kakadu tourism function, Indigenous Employment Program was created to provide opportunities to the Bininj people so that they can be trained for involving in the tourism industry. This charter is responsible for developing tourism in such condition, which will be comfortable for the traditional landowners in order to build an effective relationship with cultural heritage and tourism management.    

Ownership and cultural heritage of the Kakadu National Park

According to Dutra et al., (2017), Kakadu national park was introduced as a world heritage site in 1981 by considering the sustainability principles of the park. The stakeholders of this site are concerned about the cultural heritage management (CHM) and worked on the sustainability practices to cope up with the threats faced by the park. Therefore, recreational fishing practices are greatly encouraged as it has a low impact on the environment, highly sustainable and assures high quality experience. management, it is also effective in protecting the unique treasures of the national park. There is endangered reef fish species such as snapper and jewfish due to the sustainability practices carried out in the park (Erskine & Saynor, 2016).  

This word heritage park is jointly controlled by the Board of Management where majority of the members are aboriginals. Grom, Griffits & Chaloupka (2017) countered that the management of the park is in a responsible position of being habituated with the contemporary management practices and the scientific realization of the probable impacts of climate change. In addition to that, the gathered indigenous knowledge of the climatic changes took place in the Kakadu region for more than thousands of years. Different strategies have been set along with the national and international conventions such as the Kakadu National Park Climate Change Strategy and Parks Australia Sustainable Tourism Overview.     

At present, the Kakadu national park is facing significant problems and issues, which are affecting its natural values. There was a problem with the bushwalking permits in the Kakadu National Park and the lack of information available to the public about the approval of bushwalking routes (Jolly et al., 2018). Management of the saltwater crocodiles at the national park became an issue as they kept on increasing from the day their protection started. The negative effect on the endangered flora and fauna in the park due to tourism is another critical issue due to tourism and unnecessary disturbance by the visitors. The stakeholders and the traditional landowners need to be more cautious for working upon the security and protection of the unique biodiversity of the national park.

Lawes et al., (2015) pointed out that the stakeholders of the Kakadu National Park struggle a lot to keep up to their sustainability practices. Their hard work pays off in the form of conserving natural resources and the cultural values of Kakadu national park. The stakeholders are interested to focus on sustainability in order to promote the interests of the traditional and aboriginal landowners. They have intended to encourage the tourists and visitors for effective use of the area and respect the value of their unique biodiversity. This is because the world heritage park provides the people with a special opportunity of learning and gathering information about the indigenous culture and the natural environment to learn from tourism (Woinarski & Winderlich, 2014).          

Sustainability principles at the Kakadu National Park

The stakeholders of the park are currently concerned about the reduction in their wildlife numbers. As per the Cultural Heritage Management (CHM) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), endangerment of species and climate change are the major issues in the Kakadu National Park. This site is in need of additional conservation measures from short to long- term basis (Pettit, Baylis & Bartolo, 2017). Therefore, the stakeholders of the park and the traditional landowners are integrating their knowledge about the natural resources for protection of the site.

According to Pusey et al., (2016) sustainable tourism is considered as a guide to manage the natural resources in such a manner that they are economically, socially and aesthetically viable. The private and public sectors such as United Nations Tourism Organization play their part in maintain the environmental and cultural tourism of the Kakadu national park. They are responsible for maintaining the significant ecological processes along with cultural authenticity and biological variety. Parks Australia Sustainable Tourism Overview has highlighted their plan for terrestrial conservation at the national park. Apart from the public, private and the informational sectors, cultural and environmental tourism is also enhanced by the local Bininj or the Mungguy guides.  

The cultural management tools, which were used in Kakadu National Park for preservation of the heritage, include innovation and creativity. However, due to the limit in the budget, these approaches will make way for future success in sustainability. Innovation and creativity is less likely to exist in the dominance of bureaucratization prevailing in the norms and policies of the heritage site (Russell- Smith et al., 2017). To work on the preservation of cultural tradition and heritage and further, save the extinguished species, the park can aid the maintenance program through proper utilization of resources. The factors and tools, which are out of control of Kakadu such as participation in the cultural management programs and the trans- generational shift of the sensitive cultural knowledge needs to be considered.    

Stokeld et al., (2018) mentioned that for effective stakeholder management and sustainable strategies, cultural management tools are important to incorporate in the Kakadu national park. As the steps are being implemented to protect the wide range of biodiversity and removing the threats of climate change, it is important to strictly adhere to the cultural roots in case of any change or chance in the park. The stakeholders are working hard for the preservation and at the same time, they must consider the complexity of bringing in change in the national park (Shine et al., 2015). Following are the recommendations aimed at the improvement of the park’s conditions.

Issues affecting the Kakadu National Park

For improving stakeholder management, it can be recommended that there should be a strong planning process for the preservation of the natural resources at the world heritage site. The stakeholders need to be aware of the cause of the cause that they are working for and bridge the gap in their indigenous knowledge. There are several areas, which need to be considered by the stakeholders while working for the conservation of the Kakadu National Park. They need to focus on the following sectors-

  • Supervision for providing evidence to calculate progress
  • Proper treatment of the herbs, bushes and the undomesticated animals
  • Looking into the cause of decline in natural species especially the minor and small mammals
  • Effective interaction with the local population such as Bininj and the Mungguy
  • Enhancing the scope for providing employment to the local aboriginal population
  • Providing new opportunities for additional living areas in the park

Moreover, it can be suggested that the stakeholders need to focus on the sustainable management of the natural resources including the flora and fauna of the Kakadu national park. Profitable investments should be targeted for working on the thtreats of extinction of species and climate change.   

It can be suggested that innovation and creativity should be implemented in such a manner that it do not affect the restricted budget of the park authorities. As the stakeholders are promoting cultural and environmental tourism, they must seek government help in implementing strict policies against disturbance created by the seasonal visitors. Holistic approach should be undertaken by the public and private sectors in order to preserve the unique biodiversity. At the same time, it is an important factor that the aboriginal population must not be offended in any way while conducting the changes in the organization. The change management can be imitated from other world heritage sites that used effective cultural tools for the preservation of the landscape.  

Conclusion

Therefore, it can be concluded from the report that Kakadu national park is a world heritage site, which is undergoing several threats in the form of decline in wildlife species. The issues and problems are analyzed in the course of this report to find out the role of the stakeholders in managing the threats posed at this site. Clear recommendations are provided in the form of logical solutions, which will be effective in reducing the threats and conserving the Kakadu national park of Australia.

References

Andersen, A. N., Humphrey, C., & Braby, M. F. (2014, June). 4. Threatened invertebrates in Kakadu National Park. In Kakadu National Park Symposia Series (p. 48).

Anstee, J. M., Botha, E. J., Byrne, G. T., Dyce, P., & Schroeder, T. (2015). Remote sensing methods to map and monitor the condition of coastal habitats and other surrogates for biodiversity, Part A: Floodplain vegetation mapping of the Kakadu National Park.

Conservation measures for the Kakadu National Park

Boyden, J., Wurm, P., Joyce, K. E., & Boggs, G. (2018). A spatial vulnerability assessment of monsoonal wetland habitats to para grass invasion in Kakadu National Park, northern Australia. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, marketing, 43-55.

Dutra, L. X., Bayliss, P., McGregor, S., Christophersen, P., Scheepers, K., Woodward, E., ... & Melo, L. F. (2017). Understanding climate-change adaptation on Kakadu National Park, using a combined diagnostic and modelling framework: a case study at Yellow Water wetland. Marine and Freshwater Research.

Erskine, W. D., & Saynor, M. J. (2016). Changes in distribution and loading of large wood in sand-bed channels flanked by a monsoonal vine forest in Kakadu National Park, Australia, following Cyclone Monica in 2006. In 11th International Symposium on Ecohydraulics (ISE 2016) (p. 433). Engineers Australia.

Groom, R. A., Griffiths, A. D., & Chaloupka, M. (2017). Estimating long-term trends in abundance and survival for nesting flatback turtles in Kakadu National Park, Australia. Endangered Species Research, 32, 203-211.

Jolly, C. J., Kelly, E., Gillespie, G. R., Phillips, B., & Webb, J. K. (2018). Out of the frying pan: Reintroduction of toad?smart northern quolls to southern Kakadu National Park. Austral Ecology, 43(2), 139-149.

Lawes, M. J., Murphy, B. P., Fisher, A., Woinarski, J. C., Edwards, A. C., & Russell-Smith, J. (2015). Small mammals decline with increasing fire extent in northern Australia: evidence from long-term monitoring in Kakadu National Park. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 24(5), 712-722.

Pettit, N. E., Bayliss, P., & Bartolo, R. (2017). Dynamics of plant communities and the impact of saltwater intrusion on the floodplains of Kakadu National Park. Marine and Freshwater Research.

Pusey, B. J., Kennard, M. J., Larson, H. K., Alsop, Q., Hammer, M., & Buckle, D. J. (2016). Estuarine fishes of the south Alligator River, Kakadu national park, northern Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research, 67(12), 1797-1812.

Russell?Smith, J., Evans, J., Edwards, A. C., & Simms, A. (2017). Assessing ecological performance thresholds in fire?prone Kakadu National Park, northern Australia. Ecosphere, 8(7).

Shine, D., Melissa, M., Duncan, W., Denham, T., Hiscock, P., Jacobsen, G., & Stephens, S. P. (2015). The archaeology of Bindjarran rockshelter in Manilikarr Country, Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory. Australian Archaeology, 80(1), 104-111.

Stokeld, D., Fisher, A., Gentles, T., Hill, B., Triggs, B., Woinarski, J. C., & Gillespie, G. R. (2018). What do predator diets tell us about mammal declines in Kakadu National Park?. Wildlife Research, 45(1), 92-101.

Woinarski, J. C. Z., & Winderlich, S. (2014). A Strategy for the Conservation of Threatened Species and Threatened Ecological Communities in Kakadu National Park 2014-2024.

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