Indigenous people are integral to the conservation of Australia’s biodiversity and maintenance of cultural resources. Their ecological knowledge, passed on from one generation to another, has seen them successfully manage their land for tens of thousands of years. The importance of this knowledge is recognised throughout the world and is financially supported by investments in a variety of Indigenous Land Management Programs (ILMPs) (mostly, but not exclusively, funded by government). Aside from generating ecological benefits, these programs generate many co-benefits – i.e. social, cultural and economic benefits which accrue to Indigenous people, the government and the wider Australian community.
A previous research project (on which this new project builds) highlighted that we have some understanding of the monetary value of some of these co-benefits (e.g. incomes earned by rangers), but have an incomplete understanding of other less tangible co-benefits (e.g. those relating to culture). So we do not have a holistic appreciation of the net benefit (or economic ‘value’) of ILMPs, to support investment funding decisions.
Moreover, we have an incomplete understanding of the way in which co-benefits vary across different types of land management programs; knowing whether some programs generate more co-benefits than other programs can help guide investment decisions.
Funding agencies such as governments, businesses and NGOs would like to know if their investments represent ‘value for money’. This project will provide quantified, comparable data about the co-benefits of different types of ILMPs. In doing so, it will generate information that is likely to:
a. Support continued and improved funding to support Indigenous people working on country; and
b. Better guide investments towards ILMPs that effectively deliver most benefit in different contexts.
The current research will focus on:
The study will be undertaken with the support of five PBCs in two regions: Ewamian Aboriginal Corporation (QLD), Walalakoo Body Corporate, Yanunijarra Aboriginal Corporation, Bunuba Dawangarri Aboriginal Corporation, and Gooniyandi Aboriginal Corporation (WA). The research will follow ethical standards and work on the basis of mutual benefits, mutual trust and mutual respect.
The project is being led by Natalie Stoeckl from James Cook University (JCU). Professor Stoeckl will be supported by JCU’s Jane Addison, Diane Jarvis, Michelle Esparon, Daniel Grainger, Marina Farr and Silva Larson.
Representatives from the five communities where the research will be undertaken—Sharon Prior, Brendan Fox, Peter Murray, Steve Heggie, Melinda Sheppard, Damian Parriman, Vaughan Duncan, Lynette Shaw and Chantelle Murray—will provide assistance such as sourcing data and cultural brokering.
Professor Natalie Stoeckl, JCU: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Diane Jarvis, JCU: email@example.com
Dr Jane Addison, JCU: firstname.lastname@example.org