Savannah enriching the environment and traditional owners …

The projects I have been planning for years are now ready for implementation, after considerable research, with a plan for around 50,000 trees to start with. Funding from government and industry creates too much red tape and conditions which could not easily be met in remote communities and outstations.

Donations are now being sought, with $500 from myself to kick things off. It’s already cost me many thousands to get to this stage as well as years of voluntary input.

My group has managed for years with little help from those sources, relying on consultation and plant sales along with training and various government agency employment activities such as Work for the Dole and Green Army.aCustom made benches in the Mamabulanjin Aboriginal Corporation Nursery are able to hold 100,000 seedlings, and are surrounded by Green Army landscaped trial Savannah Orchards. (This post will be sticky for a few weeks.)

The Dampier Peninsula has over 40 outstation communities, with 4 or 5 ready to accept a project. Ten thousand seedling tubes are sown with the appropriate seeds and have started germinating. All that’s needed is funding to begin planting. Expected costs amount to around $30,000 for 1,000 trees, fenced, planted, irrigated and maintained.

Our efforts are designed to keep people on their country, without having to rely on outside funding agencies such as government departments.

The outcome of high value products will be seen in 3 to 5 years, after which communities will be self funding.

Terminalia ferdinandianaThe product above has a high value, and is used in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. It has only been available as a wild harvested species until now, and plans require it be maintained as an aboriginal industry. Known locally as Gubinge, it’s also been called the Kakadu Plum.

Please go to the link above and donate. It is also possible to advance any of the projects as a loan, repayable at a time to be agreed by the receiving traditional owner bodies. Any queries can be directed to me on 0439511985 or

Below is an example of another species that will be included in the projects.



If you are able to help, please do. The need for helping out in this way is higher than ever.


About Tom Harley

Amateur ecologist and horticulturalist and CEO of Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Inc. (Tom Harley) Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Incorporated Kimberley Environmental Horticulture (KEH) is a small group of committed individuals who promote the use of indigenous plants for the landscaping of parks and gardens. Rehabilitation of Kimberley coast, bushland and pastoral regions are also high on our agenda. This includes planting seedlings, weed control, damage from erosion or any other environmental matter that comes to our attention. We come from all walks of life, from Professionals and Trades oriented occupations, Pensioners and Students, Public Servants and the Unemployed. We have a community plant nursery where we trial many old and new species, with a view to incorporating these into our landscaping trials. Our labour force are mainly volunteers, but with considerable help from the 'work for the dole' program, Indigenous Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) groups and the Ministry of Justice, with their community work orders; in this way we manage to train many people in the horticultural skills needed for indigenous plant growing. We constantly undertake field trips that cover seed and plant collection in the Kimberley. Networking around the Kimberley region and the east Pilbara is a necessary part of promoting our activities. We consult on a range of Environmental and Landscaping matters that deal with our region. Our activities involve improving Broome's residential streetscapes by including 'waterwise' priciples in planting out nature strips. Sustainable environmental horticulture is practised by members of our group. We use existing vegetation as the backbone of any plantings, using these species to advantage when planning to develop tree forms or orchards. The Broome region is sensitive to development. Subsequently many weed species have become dominant in and around developed areas. The use and movement of heavy machinery is the biggest single cause of environmental degradation. We dont live in a 'Tropical Paradise' but on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert. The plants that survive best here, grow in well-drained pindan sand, and are found from the Dampier Peninsular southward to where average rainfall is below 600mm. When we use rainforest species, detail is important when planting, water catchment, sunlight and understorey species are all considered. The use of recycled 'grey' water is an advantage here as well as treated waste-water, although many local species do not fare well with nutrients from this source. We use waterwise planting methods which include harvesting asmuch rainwater as possible, with swales designed to hold up to 200 litres, to help recharge the local groundwater aquifer. There has been a serious decline in this aquifer over the last few years. With the fast expansion of the Broome peninsular, more and more land is being covered by concrete, iron and bitumen so that much less water is available to replenish the aquifer, allowing the salt content to become significantly higher. The small Broome Peninsular is on the south-western corner of the Dampier Peninsular (bound by Broome, Derby and Cape Leveque at the northern tip). Compaction by vehicles also inhibits water retention due to the content of our local pindan sand, hard as concrete in the dry, going to soft and sloppy mud after rain. None of us are botanists, inevitably we have got some names wrong, names changed, or have not gone to sub-species level. If you note a photo or description may be wrong, please e-mail to
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