Project Information

York Downs Station

Savanna burning

The Witherspoon family have been active in the Cape York cattle industry since the 1960s. Today, Iain and Kate Witherspoon manage York Downs Station on Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland. Covering 130,000 hectares, it is home to Iain, Kate and their young children. The Witherspoons manage a herd of Brahman cattle at York Downs, focusing on breeding before moving the cattle south for fattening. As with many properties in Cape York, the cattle are able to freely graze the property, tending to follow green pasture in the wake of storms and rainfall.

Since 2011, the Witherspoons have been improving fire management practices at York Downs as part of a Savanna Burning carbon project. Early in the dry season, they conduct controlled ‘mosaic’ burns that will help to manage any wildfires occurring later in the season. These early burns decrease the size and intensity of wildfires by removing much of their fuel, making them easier to contain. With early season burns, the Witherspoons are able to protect their pasture and infrastructure.

Using the additional income from the carbon project, the Witherspoons have upgraded their grader to assist with forming fire breaks. They are planning to install a solar system for the property, allowing them to decommission the diesel generator that currently serves as the only source of power at York Downs.

The Witherspoons have seen an increase in native fauna as a result of their new fire management practices. Without the devastation of uncontrollable wildfires, there are now healthy populations of lizards, echidnas, kangaroos, wallabies and snakes at York Downs.

Key Benefits

Reduced carbon emissions from wildfires
Improved fire risk management
Increased biodiversity and improved soil health
Protection and regeneration of native vegetation
Investment in the local community through job creation

UN Sustainable
Development Goals



Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative – Emissions Abatement through Savanna Fire Management) Methodology Determination 2015

Registered ID


Date registered

1/7/2015 (backdated to 2011)

Project area

116,156 ha


Cape York, QLD


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