Workers at the Gumati Aboriginal Corporation sawmill… latest research will support traditional owners to facilitate a sustainable forest-based livelihood.

THE latest episode of the Forest and Wood Products Australia podcast series WoodChat focuses on a new research project that is investigating the potential for commercial indigenous forestry in the Northern Territory’s East Arnhem Land.

The goal of the research is to support the traditional owners to facilitate a sustainable forest-based livelihood.

The research is being delivered by the University of the Sunshine Coast, with a number of partner entities led by Developing East Arnhem Limited (DEAL), an independent not-for-profit company that aims to drive economic development in East Arnhem, promoting the resilience of the region and opportunity for its people.

During the episode the hosts speak to Jordy Bowman, CEO at DEAL, who explains how forestry has the potential to support indigenous communities to use their land for employment and economic benefit, alongside cultural purposes.

“We know there is a strong interest among East Arnhem communities in indigenous-led forest and timber product enterprises,” Ms Bowman said.

“The region contains large areas of indigenous-owned native forests with commercial potential, which can be capitalised on to help develop a sustainable post-mining future for the region and its people,” she said.

“The project will support traditional owners to recognise the commercial assets they have on their land. It will provide an evidence base that enables them to make informed decisions.”

During the episode, listeners will also hear from Balapalu Yunupingu, Gumatj elder and director of Gumatj Corporation and Mark Annandale, research manager at the University of the Sunshine Coast regarding their involvement with the project.

This episode is the latest in the WoodChat podcast series, and follows topics including forestry education for young online learners during Covid-19, new business models to inspire investment in trees on farms, and building safely with timber in bushfire-prone areas.

WoodChat represents FWPA’s ongoing commitment to engaging ways of communicating news and innovations to the industry and beyond. Each episode includes in-depth conversations with experts on recent discoveries and current initiatives.

Listen to WoodChat on SoundCloud, iTunes and Spotify.