The Martu determination is a part of the most intact arid ecosystem anywhere on Earth.
While most of Australia’s arid lands have suffered either total loss or serious declines of native fauna, the Martu determination provides one of the last wild havens for some of Australia’s iconic but highly threatened desert species. Perhaps most significantly, the Martu determination is likely to contain the largest unfenced population of greater bilby (mankarr / Macrotis lagotis) in existence. Due to its remoteness and arid nature, no pastoral leases were ever established over the determination and development activities such as roads have been limited.
This limited development slowed the influx of invasive species (both flora and fauna) as well as threatening processes which often accompanies new roads and activities.
Native fauna and flora are largely intact and include 19 animal and 16 plant species of international, national or state significance.
The Martu determination also has enormous cultural significance to Martu. The lands are literally ‘alive’ with thousands of cultural sites (many of them water sources), songlines, stories, ceremonies, history and tangible materials such as occupation sites, objects and artefacts.
Occupation sites with flaked and ground stone artefacts are commonly found near reliable water sources (such as springs and rockholes). They are also found on more ephemeral sources such as claypans that are replenished periodically after local rainfall.
Martu maintain their cultural connection to their country through jukurrpa (the dreamtime), songlines, stories, traditions such as ceremony and by simply living on country.