Northern Territory University, Darwin
Background | Outputs |
Research Methods |
Traditional harvesters of stems for didjeridus
use an axe, are very selective and only take a few branches.
Eucalyptus tintinans illegally harvested in the
Yinberrie Hills. This tree was cut at the main stem rather than the
As Aboriginal art and culture become increasingly popularised,
large numbers of tree hollows or entire trees are taken from
Northern Territory bushland for commercial didgeridoo manufacture.
Much of the harvest is concentrated on the Katherine region and
there is concern from the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the NT
(PCWNT) and traditional owners (Jawoyn) regarding the
sustainability of the practice, at a local scale. In addition to
the apparent tree damage there is also the possibility that the
practice may effect fauna which use the tree hollows for shelter or
At present, there is little knowledge regarding harvesting
practices and recovery of affected trees. Currently didgeridoo
harvesting is monitored via Section 48(2) of the Territory Parks
and Wildlife Commission Act (1993), whereby individual land-owners
are issued with Permits to Take Plants. The removal of didgeridoo
sticks incurs a royalty payment and requires details on the extent
and location of the harvest. However, PWCNT and the Jawoyn people
feel a management plan is needed in order to maintain viable
sustainability utilised populations of affected species.
The research study proposed here, in combination with concurrent
work, will increase knowledge of didgeridoo harvesting and provide
input into the framework for a management plan.
- In cooperation with harvesters, Aboriginal people and other
stakeholders, collect information of the characteristics of harvest
wood including species, condition and environment.
- Record fauna in harvested stems and associate stem
characteristics to fauna preference.
- Visit previously harvested sites to record long-term effect on
- Using information on growth rates of favoured species and
incidence of suitable hollows, estimate the rate of recruitment of
Using GIS, combine data on themes such as vegetation, DEM,
rainfall, soil, cadastral, etc to predict locations which:
- Are likely to be targeted by harvesters given their "selection
- May support populations suitably attractive to harvesters.
- Provide suggestions towards management action in regard to
sustainable utilisation and maintenance of viable wild populations
of didgeridoo stick species .
Illegal harvests blight traditional didjeridu trade
Recent research into the harvest of native timbers for the didjeridu market suggest that it may be reaching unsunstainable levels in some areas of the NT’s Top End A… [read more...