What is a natural resource management plan?

A natural resource management plan guides the efficient placement of land use activities. It provides information and access to tools to effectively and sustainably manage desired land uses.

The Cape York NRM plan showcases the planning and management activities of this region, its people and its ecosystems. Building a robust planning process requires long-term, coordinated and collaborative effort with people involved in managing the land and those people supporting land managers inside and outside the region. The Cape York NRM Plan is continually updated through a Planning By Doing method. This prioritises on-ground activity and builds in continuous monitoring as a way to ensure adaptive and effective long-term management strategies.

Importantly, this approach and NRM plan is driven by Cape York community voices and on-ground projects happening in Cape York. The process is always adapting to better suit the real-world needs of the people and ecosystems of this country.

Why is Cape York Natural Resource Management involved?

A key part of Cape York NRM's role is the bridging of knowledge, coordination and partnerships to care for the natural environment and sustainably manage resources. It is also responsible for developing, facilitating and monitoring the implementation of a regional Natural Resource Management Plan.

Natural resource management planning in the Cape York region enhances and exchanges skills and knowledge of and with the people on Cape York to assist them to plan for change.

With so many changes happening on Cape York, particularly changes in climate, people need to find ways to cope with and adapt to these changes. The plan and planning process fulfills part of Cape York NRM's role to build trust with the Cape York community and to agree on and monitor a set of coordinated actions.

How can it help you?

People plan for many reasons. This NRM plan has the purpose of supporting people to change and improve land uses for the benefit of people and the environment. It can assist with monitoring the success of actions as people journey on the pathways to achieve the NRM targets.

The Cape York NRM Plan is situated within a broader Atlas which provides opportunities for accessing, communicating, collecting, enhancing and sharing knowledge useful to planning and doing onground actions. You can see how each can Atlas site can help by viewing the tool below. 

Cape York NRM Home

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

Natural Resource Management Plan

The NRM Plan http://plan.capeyorknrm.com.au/ 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 used to plan. It lays out options for future land management, especially in the face of climate change impacts, and is informed by local monitoring and land management practices, the best and most current regional and national science, and Traditional Knowledge. Eight adaptation pathways are shown within this site that identify ways to work towards achieving eight NRM targets. The pathways and targets were identified through extensive engagement with land and sea managers from across Cape York. The site also identifies Cape York NRM’s current Regional Investment Strategy. Importantly the site identifies projects that Cape York NRM and the Cape York community are working on already that assist in reaching the NRM plan targets. 

Carbon, Ecosystems and Biodiversity 

Carbon, Ecosystems and Biodiversity http://maps.capeyorknrm.com.au/carbon is a sub-site of Maps & Data.  It is a mapping tool for carbon abatement, savannah burning, threatened species distribution and hotspots, and ecosystem service values. You can also download your property map here and determine the opportunities for engaging in the Savannah Burning economy.  

Who Plans Here

Who.Plans.Here. http://whoplanshere.capeyorknrm.com.au/ 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, with options to download, or contact the Plan owner. This site gives voice to all the planning being done on Cape York across multiple scales. 

Maps and Data

Maps & Data http://maps.capeyorknrm.com.au/about powers most of the repository and spatial data management for the Cape York NRM 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.

Land Manager

Land Manager http://landmanager.capeyorknrm.com.au/ is a collection of case-studies, stories and tools, providing information about managing Cape York’s land and sea Country. It is designed for graziers, horticulturalists, rangers, Land Trusts, researchers and anyone who works on the land and sea. Cape York people are encouraged to tell their stories on this site, 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.

ADAPT: Climate Stories 

ADAPT: Climate Stories http://climate.capeyorknrm.com.au/ is a collection of films, stories and resources about Climate Change on Cape York, in Australia and from across the World.  Cape York NRM is proud to have produced a series of films from across Cape York, that shares 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. 


Fire on the Cape http://fire.capeyorknrm.com.au/ 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 that hosts Northern Australia Fire Mapping (NAFI), and to Cape York Fire that contains films from Cape York Indigenous fire workshops. Some of the resources include: the past 15 years of fire history on Cape York; news, stories and presentations on fire management; and a map showing current fire management plans and savanna burning projects.


Water Quality http://waterquality.capeyorknrm.com.au/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.

Living Knowledge Place

The Living Knowledge Place http://www.livingknowledgeplace.com.au/ is 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 Productions with Indigenous communities from across Australia.

Partner Programs

Partner programs http://www.capeyorknrm.com.au/partners is a sub-site of the main corporate site, and is a place that showcases initiatives of partnerships that Cape York NRM has contributed to developing. 

What are the adaptation pathways?

In an attempt address climate change impacts and implement adaptive practices, we developed the idea of 'adaptation pathways' that integrate our Planning by Doing process to achieve NRM targets. These pathways propose concurrent and coordinated actions to reduce the effects of climate change and improve community and ecosystem resilience. Each overall adaptation pathway can be independent, or work together with other pathways. Each adaptation pathway has multiple actions to work towards the overall target these actions are identified in the Look, Listen, Learn and Link framework that outline different ways we partner with the people of Cape York in working towards the NRM targets. 

How are they identified?

These adaptation pathways were developed during the NRM Planning project, over the past three years. Each pathway has a section identifying how it was identified and developed. The pathways are also constructed to pay respect to everyone involved, whether through on-ground works, partnerships, workshops, reporting, technical studies, research or other plans.

The information and tools presented in each Cape York Atlas site relate to the adaptation pathways that can be taken to reach the NRM plan targets. Click below to find our more about each NRM target and adaptation pathway.

For investors and the Cape York community, the Atlas also showcases the projects they have invested in and how these are meeting the priorities of the regional investment strategy and the NRM plan targets. The NRM plan also identifies future priorities for action and investment, as described in each of the pages of target and adaptation pathways. 

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are advised that this website may contain images and voices of deceased persons