by Lyndal Scobell, Luke Preece and Peta Standley

On 27 April in Cairns, Cape York NRM will launch a dynamic natural resource management plan that anticipates, and allows for, change.

The Atlas consists of nine independent websites that work together to collect and share information about land and sea management on Cape York. It provides tools to land managers to plan across scales, improve and target on-ground management, and inform management actions.

Cape York NRM is the main site for information about the organisation, what it does, its projects, and its partners.  Information about government investment can be found here, along with information on the social, cultural and environmental values of Cape York.

Partner programmes is a sub-site of the main Cape York NRM site.  Cape York NRM has contributed to the development of partnerships and initiatives that are showcased on this site.

One such initiative is The Living Knowledge Place, home to a collection of films and educational resources sharing Traditional Knowledge from across Australia. The Living Knowledge Place has its own entry point on the Atlas and has been developed by Mulong.

Land Manager is a collection of case-studies, stories and tools, providing information about managing Cape York’s land and sea country.  The site is primarily of interest to graziers, horticulturalists, rangers, Land Trusts, researchers and anyone who works on the land and sea. It is a place where Cape York people are encouraged to tell their stories, and share their knowledge about land management practices that work (or don’t work) on the Cape. It also provides a place where service providers who regularly work on the Cape can promote their services.

Maps & Data powers most of the repository and spatial data management for the Atlas websites. Items such as maps, documents and data are referenced as resources on this site. NRM groups, agencies, and community members who have an interest in leveraging these data holdings for further public-good, and for planning their on-ground NRM projects, will find this site useful.

Carbon, Ecosystems and Biodiversity carbon is a sub-site of Maps & Data.  It is a mapping tool for carbon abatement, savanna burning, threatened species distribution and hotspots, and ecosystem service values.

Fire on the Cape is a collection of knowledge, tools and resources for best-practice fire management for Cape York.  It incorporates principles from Traditional Knowledge holders and western fire management practice.  The site links with Carbon, Ecosystems and Biodiversity; to Northern Fire Manager, which hosts Northern Australia Fire Information (NAFI); and Cape York Fire, which contains films of Cape York Indigenous fire workshops. Resources such as the past 14 years of fire history on Cape York, news, stories, presentations on fire management and a map of where fire management plans exist on Cape York are also found here.

Water Quality is a site all about water on Cape York. It incorporates the East Coast Water Quality Improvement Plan, and other information about looking after Cape York’s precious water resources.

Adapt: Climate Stories is a collection of films, stories and resources about Climate Change on Cape York, throughout Australia, and across the World.  Cape York NRM is proud to have produced a series of films from across Cape York that share the climate change concerns of Traditional Owners.  The site is also home to resources from CSIRO, James Cook University and the Bureau of Meteorology, and the products from Wet Tropics Cluster Planning for Climate Change Stream 2 research project. Stream 2 is a National Science Initiative that developed information and tools to support NRM planning for Climate Change.

NRM Plan pulls the Atlas together into a plan and provides a framework for natural resource management planning on Cape York.  The site documents Cape York’s planning history, and shows the process and principles Cape York NRM uses to plan.  It lays out options for future land management, especially in the face of climate change impacts. It is informed by local monitoring and land management practices, the best and most-current regional and national science, and by Traditional Knowledge. Within this site, eight adaptation pathways identify ways to work towards achieving eight NRM targets. The pathways and targets were identified through years of extensive engagement with land and sea managers from across Cape York. The site also hosts Cape York NRM’s current Regional Investment Strategy. Cape York NRM and the Cape York community are already working on projects that assist in reaching the NRM plan targets. This site highlights these projects.

Who.Plans.Here. is a tool to locate plans that are in place for Cape York localities. Cape York NRM has over 50 plans available on the site (with many more to come). Plans can be located by searching a selected area on a Cape York map. Plans that Cape York NRM have permission to share will be displayed, and will include either the option to download or details to enable you to contact the Plan owner. This site gives voice to the past and current planning on Cape York across multiple scales.

Cape York NRM has used a new approach to planning called Planning By Doing.  This approach incorporates the multiple cycles of planning, implementing, monitoring, adapting and evaluating that occur with on-ground works as they happen.  It acknowledges that sometimes things happen that are not expected (eg. multiple natural disasters, accelerated impacts of a changing climate), and that planning systems need to be responsive to adapt to those unforeseen circumstances. This new approach to planning is how Cape York NRM will respond and adapt, and take on new information as planning happens.

Using the Planning By Doing methodology and the ATLAS framework, Cape York NRM will continue to update, renew and evolve the Atlas and Cape York NRM plan into the future.

To get involved, or add your voice to the Cape York Atlas, contact or call 1300 132 262.