Vine thickets, which occur as patches within and behind the swales of coastal dunes, make up less than 0.01% of the Dampier Peninsula yet support 25% of the Peninsula's plant species.
They are naturally fragmented and restricted and provide habitat and refuge for birds, bats and other animals, which move between patches, maintaining their connectivity and genetic viability.
MVTs span the traditional country of the Yawuru, Djugun, Goolarabooloo, Nyumbarl, Jabirr Jabirr, Djabera Djabera, Nyul Nyul, Nimanburru and Bardi Jawi peoples. Many contain biidin or jila (waterholes), and valued bush foods, medicines and carving timbers for making artefacts and tools. Sites are used for camping and ceremony, and as law grounds.
Frequent hot wildfire is shrinking vine thicket patches, weeds are infesting them and displacing natives, and woodland is encroaching on them. As the patches are an interconnected network, the loss or degradation of one vine thicket patch affects all other patches. The degradation of the ecosystem has led to some loss of connectivity.
What we have been doing
Since 2007–2008, when EK began working with the Bardi Jawi and Nyul Nyul Rangers, EK has collaborated with traditional owners and ranger groups, and partner organisations, to look after vine thicket patches. Activities have included fire and weed management, revegetation and research and monitoring, including biological surveys. We have also been documenting the ecology and fire history and traditional ecological knowledge of MVTs.
Looking after MVT's in Minyirr Park
Environs Kimberley has been working with Nyamba Buru Yawuru to protect Monsoonal Vine Thickets by weeding, collecting seed, propagating and planting at a revegetation site in Broome’s Minyirr Park. Mayingan Manja Balu in Minyirr Park is part of this Threatened Ecological Community and faces threats from weeds, fire, pollution, development and feral animals. This wonderful video, made with the Yawuru country managers by film maker Alex Smee, was funded by the State NRM Program and the state government’s Aboriginal Ranger Program. Check it out!
Read more about other collaborative MVT research and management projects that KNP is coordinating:
Commonwealth and WA Listings
This work has made a significant contribution to state and national documentation of MVTs, and was instrumental to the listing of vine thickets in 2013 as a nationally Endangered ecosystem under the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Despite recommendations to upgrade the state listing, monsoon vine thickets remain listed as a Vulnerable ecosystem in WA.
In the ten years of joint research and management of MTVs on the Dampier Peninsula, EK has collaborated with the Bardi Jawi Rangers, the Nyul Nyul Rangers, the Bardi Jawi Oorany Rangers, the Yawuru Country Managers, other south-Kimberley Traditional Owners, the Kimberley Land Council, the Yawuru Department of Parks and Wildlife Rangers, Broome Botanical Society and the Society for Kimberley Indigenous Plants and Animals.