Fire Hunting in Australia
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Fire Hunting in Australia

November 15, 2019

[sound] Stanford University. For the past 12 years we’ve been working
closely with a group of Australian Aborigines who refer to themselves as Martu. Folks like Mardu and Mardu themselves have lived in the western desert for many,
many millennia. [sound].
Mardu use fire, especially For hunting monitor lizards.
Women will set a fire line and clear off the track and
following behind the flames and track the game to their winter time dens.
And then they’ll probe those dens and excavate their guyanas within them.
The boots on the ground, the pedestrian hunting like this on a regular basis
creates a very patchy mosaic on the landscape with just a little bit of rain 6
months to a year after, you’re going to have all kinds of mature
plants coming up and the plants that come up
Are not just the spin effects grass, that you burned off,
But they’re the seed bank. From a lot of other plants [sound] A Mardu
hunting regime which creates more diversity on the ground mediates against
climate driven wildfires, which are massive and have devastating
consequences on the biota in the region. The moral of the story is, we really,
really need folk to know what they’re doing and how to manage these
resources out there. These communities are sanctuaries, they’re
sanctuaries for their culture, they’re sanctuaries for the very desert biota.
And without support for these communities, we will be losing a critical component of
global biodiversity. For more, please visit us at

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  1. I am assuming English is not your first language. Be more specific. Who are the hypocrites? Are you saying the aboriginals should spend more time tackling the bigger issues? Color me confused.

  2. THAT SHIT IS PALEO FOOD, For the paleo people to know, they didnt eat dark chocolate and nutty pates and smoothies, they ate what was out there.

  3. Awesome video! I went to Australia's Western Desert with Professor Bird in 2007 to meet the Martu. They are expert hunters. It's amazing to see the fires as they happen. They and the Martu are crucial to the diversity of the desert ecosystem since they promote the growth and cycling of vegetation, which has upstream effects on the food chain.

  4. well in africa they would take offense, just because your calling them something else other then normal.
    in australia they are proud to be called it, because its their heritage.

    thats the only 2 i can talk about and say i am not wrong (spent my life in both places)

  5. The small amount is prevention of a HUGE fire latter on, so it is justified, in fact huge fires are prevented this way naturally, that is why man made fire prevention caused the Yellowstone disaster in the US

  6. The CO2 that is released is reincorporated into the plant materials in the next couple years. There is not net increase in CO2. Hope that helps.

  7. Imagine the public outcry and the reactions by the Labour Goverment and eco-groups to a video of a white Australian farmer setting acres of scrubland on fire to scratch the equivalent of a chicken of food out of the soil by beating a lizard to death. And I'm curious about the natural mechanisms that check your DNA wether you are a holistic acting native to whose action the ecosystem has adapted or just a racist, nature destroying, white colonialist whose actions must be prohibited by government.

  8. There will be the day when these folks are tired of hunting iguanas for food with fire, hopefully finding a better way to live. And then? Is the Australian government going to pay them to set fires? I'd say let them burn and do what they used to do, but to glorify this as ecological and necessary seems a bit hard to follow. Isn't it simply an adaptation of both the land to the people and the people to the land?

  9. When they are brought into 'modern' society they huff gasoline and start fights all day. with an avg IQ of 65, which is retarded by European and Asian standards, they are better off hunting iguanas and setting shrubs on fire , and it's better to subsidize them in that then pretend that they can integrate into the modern world in any significant number. A few of them, sure, and some maybe will do just fine, but the rank and file of them is evolved for the bush, and the bush is where they belong.

  10. Oh please just go read a book and stop spewing offensive rubbish. Start with 'Nourishing Terrains' by Deborah Bird Rose. You can download the whole publication from the website of the Australian Heritage Council.

  11. Lighting these fires is actually a good thing. By doing so; they can hunt particular game as it flees the fires, draw other game to the pre-burnt areas when the fresh flora has grown, and in burning areas at specific times they prevent giant massive bush fires from having enough fuel continue. Nature fires are a completely normal thing in Australia. The reason they are so big every few years is because not enough of this land management occurs.

  12. I encourage you to dig deeper into Australia's history. in particular the aborigines the environment and man made forces that have changed both.

  13. I'm pretty sure the wartu people who have been living on this land for millennia know how to sustainably use the land.

  14. Oh piss off yank.  These so called "ecological burns" cause more damage than good.  It's like cutting your finger, I mean sure it will heal, but you don't need to cut your finger in the first place!  Even the woodiest of seed pods will germinate with no fire.  It is a total myth that plants need fire to germinate, a total myth, and a dangerous myth.  In Kakadu National park, past experimenting with ecological burns has wiped out some native marsupials.  Fauna can not escape fire, it simply is burnt to death.  Between feral cats, and man made fires, Australia's unique fauna is disappearing at a rapid rate.  The only natural fire, is one from a lightning strike.  Dry lightning strikes are a very rare occurrence.  The overwhelming majority of fires in Australia are from the activity of humans.  There is simply nothing natural about a box of matches.  Australia's endangered fauna does not need fire loving loopies from the other side of the world beating their drum.

  15. This is not sustainable or ecologically responsible. Man-made fires like this contributed to the decline of megafauna across the world, including, and perhaps even most notably, in Australia itself. Today they are the sole driver of the Southeast Asian haze, among the most pressing ecological crises in the region.

    Fires are produced by nature, and have been since flammable material arose from nature. I think the biota which evolved to survive damage from these natural fires for millions of years are better equipped to deal with those than with some hungry tribespeople setting the bush ablaze.

  16. As a matter of fact this contributes to the sustainability of the ecological system and are extremely important to it's maintenance. People have been doing this for upwards of 45,000 years and have shaped these landscapes to the point that if they weren't to burn the spinifex it causes huge lighting burns as opposed to these complex fire mosaics in their subsistence strategies. Just read some of the research done by Dr. Douglas Bird and his wife Dr. Rebecca Bliege Bird.

  17. All those bitchin and bellyachin about "aboriginals killed the land", go and learn what happens to an area that DOESN'T have the fuel load managed appropriately. Your ignorance is showing. Look what happened in VIC 10 odd years ago when a shitload of people died because they could no longer manage all that had accumulated on the ground thanks to greenies and hippies.

    Or consider the black fellas live here for a bloody long time without major issue where white man who thinks he knows all (especially those claiming the koori killed the land) has fucked huge areas on the land and the rivers.

  18. This is why Australia is 1/2 dessert. 35,000 years ago the land was transformed. Good thing they never kept it up and don't seem to want to. It's an easy way to catch animals. It changed the flora to the point where what remained needs fire to germinate. It was never controlled, like how?

  19. Hey how could he kill the Lizard you aborigines are murderers you can't hit a Lizard like that and just leave them there and do nothing with it of you don't like them your culture are sick animals have lifestyle too and feelings too an animal isn't just a animal it is something that has a brain!!!!. If you kill a animal you must do something with it

  20. Great Video, I don't know if they deliberately combined the hunt with the fires or if it just seemed to be practical to combine the two different things, but all that experience in living off the land is impressive. Alot of people don't know if you grab the wrong end of the lizard or fail to knock it out – – -you're dead.

  21. Let me see if I understand. The wildlife was there when the Europeans came to Austrailia even though the Martu had been doing this for thousands of years, (proof that it doesn't cause any harm ) but, all of a sudden they shouldn't do it anymore because newcomers don't understand.

  22. Love how people say shooting birds, squirrels, hogs, roos, inhumane but whacking a lizard over and over by a minority Aboriginal warms their heart.

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