The Djelk Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) is a voluntary formal agreement between the land’s traditional owners and the Australian Government. The agreement involved consultations and collaborative planning across more than eight years, and the landowners and Djelk Rangers declared the Djelk IPA together in 2009. The country of the Djelk IPA covers over 6700 square kilometres, which is nearly half the area of our land-based operations.
Achieving and maintaining the Djelk IPA helps to protect biodiversity and promote a balance between conservation and sustainable uses that benefit the land’s owners and managers. Landowners decided to manage the Djelk IPA region as a Category VI, defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as:
[An] area containing predominantly unmodified natural systems, managed to ensure long-term protection and maintenance of biological diversity, while at the same time providing a sustainable flow of natural products and services to meet community needs.
IPA status makes country part of the National Reserve System – the same system that also protects Australia’s national parks for future generations – and binds us to manage the Djelk IPA region to international standards set out by the IUCN. As part of the agreement with the Australian Government, we receive support and the commitment of partner agencies to work with us to manage this region’s ecological and cultural values as directed by its landowners.
The current Djelk IPA shares a narrow overlap of country and a 50 km border with the Wardekken IPA to the west, where adjoining clans have shared responsibilities for country. Together, the two IPAs cover an area larger than Kakadu and Nitmuluk national parks. The Bawinanga Rangers are applying to have the coastal boundaries of the existing Djelk IPA expanded to include a substantial area of sea country that we already manage with landowners and djungkay.