Research priorities for IPAs across northern Australia

Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) make up more than 45 per cent of Australia’s National Reserve System, protecting biodiversity, ecosystem services, cultural and community values. Since 1998 72 IPAs have been established, covering more than 64 million hectares of both land and sea country across Australia.

This project provided an assessment of the research priorities for IPAs in northern Australia, and identified environmental, social, economic and cultural benefits associated with IPAs.

In collaboration with IPA managers, government, non-government and research stakeholders across the north of Australia, this project undertook literature reviews, interviews and workshops to assess research priorities for northern Australia’s IPAs.

The project identified core environmental, social, economic and cultural benefits associated with IPAs. It identified ways in which IPA managers, government and non-government stakeholders could use this information in decision-making contexts, such as policy development and land and sea management.

Priorities were identified using a collaborative and systematic process, designed to build the confidence of both IPA managers and potential government, private and not-for-profit research investors. Attention was particularly focused on research needs that support Indigenous peoples’ goals for managing their land and sea country, and sustaining their participation in environmental management.

Two reports were prepared:

  • A report on research priorities for IPAs across northern Australia was delivered to the Australian Government in 2016. You can view a 2 page summary of the research findings here, and a 4 page summary here.
  • A separate report is close to release on the ‘economic values’ sub-component of the project to provide a better understanding of the multiple benefits of IPAs, the appropriate methods for assessing those benefits, and stakeholder needs for information about the economic ‘value’ of those benefits. A 4 page summary of the project is here.

This work has informed two new NESP projects, ‘Knowledge brokering for Indigenous land management’ and ‘Multiple benefits and knowledge systems of Indigenous land management programs‘.

Entire Northern Hub region, focusing on current and proposed future Indigenous Protected Areas.

Northern Hub research area map

Dr Ro Hill (Project Leader, CSIRO), Ms Melissa George (Project Leader, NAILSMA), Prof Natalie Stoeckl (Project Leader, JCU)