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Natural Resource Management Research

It is not enough to hope that the land will look after itself. Using the land for jobs and our own economy requires us to manage the land properly. We must bring together our knowledge of the past with the new scientific information about the land. Why the soils behave like they do; how the water reserves work; the way the animals and plants work together to keep the land healthy; the impact of fire and erosion and foreign weeds and pests. Just as Tiwi traditional owners understood and cared for our land when we used it for the traditions in the past, the new generations of Tiwi land managers need to understand and care for it now and into the future.’

Frederick Mungatopi, Former TLC Chairman

There has been an unbroken history of occupation and ownership of the Tiwi Islands by Tiwi people for thousands of years. Traditionally, the natural resources of the region were used for food, shelter, medicine, weapons, tools and spiritual purposes. From the late 1800s the natural resources were viewed as a source of wealth by developers, culminating with a major plantation forestry industry being established on Melville Island in the 1960s and 70s.

The greatest assets of the Tiwi Islands are their natural resources and people, and natural resource utilisation is a key area for economic development, potentially providing long-term employment and training opportunities for Tiwi people. The Tiwi Islands have also been recognised for their high conservation values, supporting many species not recorded anywhere else in the Northern Territory or the world.  Research helps the Tiwi Land Council to make informed decisions on behalf of Tiwi people about the long-term sustainable management of natural resources.

Examples of research areas:


Conducting Research on the Tiwi Islands

Permits to conduct research on the Tiwi Islands are only issued once a Research Proposal has been approved by the Tiwi Land Council. Please visit Research Permit to apply.

Tiwi Islands Science Reference Committee

In 2011, the Tiwi Land Council and University of Melbourne Science Reference Committee was established to:

  • Provide advice on science-based issues;
  • Advise on research applications concerning Tiwi people and the Tiwi Islands;
  • Identify areas of research and funding that will benefit the Tiwi people.

For further information about the Science Reference Committee contact the Tiwi Land Council.