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Cross-cultural Conflicts in Fire Management in Northern Australia: Not so Black and White

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dc.contributor.author Andersen, Alan en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2009-07-31T14:52:39Z
dc.date.available 2009-07-31T14:52:39Z
dc.date.issued 1999 en_US
dc.date.submitted 2008-09-02 en_US
dc.date.submitted 2008-09-02 en_US
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2685
dc.description.abstract "European ('scientific') and Aboriginal ('experiential') perspectives on fire management in northern Australia are often contrasted with each other. For Europeans, management is portrayed as a science-based, strategically directed and goal-oriented exercise aimed at achieving specific ecological outcomes. In contrast, landscape burning by Aboriginal people is more of an emergent property, diffusely arising from many uses of fire that serve social, cultural, and spiritual, as well as ecological, needs. Aboriginal knowledge is acquired through tradition and personal experience, rather than through the scientific paradigm of hypothesis testing. Here I argue that, in practice, science plays only a marginal role in European fire management in northern Australia. European managers often lack clearly defined goals in terms of land management outcomes, and rarely monitor the ecological effects of their management actions. Management is based primarily on tradition, intuition, and personal experience rather than on scientific knowledge, and there is often a reluctance to accept new information, particularly when it is provided by 'outsiders.' In these ways, the processes by which European land managers acquire and utilize information are actually similar to those of indigenous Australians, and can be considered characteristic of a management culture. In this context, the conventional European vs. Aboriginal contrast might be more accurately described as a conflict between scientists on one hand and land managers in general, both black and white, on the other. That is not to say that science has all the answers and that researchers always deliver useful research outcomes. Cultural tensions between Australia's colonists and its original inhabitants rank highly on the national agenda, particularly in relation to land access and ownership. For the effective management of such land, another difficult but rewarding challenge lies in reconciling tensions between the cultures of science and management, black and white." en_US
dc.subject Aborigines en_US
dc.subject adaptive systems en_US
dc.subject conflict en_US
dc.subject indigenous institutions en_US
dc.subject fire ecology en_US
dc.subject land tenure and use en_US
dc.title Cross-cultural Conflicts in Fire Management in Northern Australia: Not so Black and White en_US
dc.type Journal Article en_US
dc.type.published published en_US
dc.coverage.region Pacific and Australia en_US
dc.coverage.region Europe en_US
dc.coverage.country Australia en_US
dc.subject.sector Social Organization en_US
dc.subject.sector Land Tenure & Use en_US
dc.identifier.citationjournal Ecology and Society en_US
dc.identifier.citationvolume 3 en_US
dc.identifier.citationnumber 1 en_US
dc.identifier.citationmonth June en_US

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