Caring for country and sustainable Indigenous development: Opportunities, constraints and innovation

Author/editor: Altman, JC, Whitehead, PJ
Year published: 2003
Issue no.: 20


This paper explores how Indigenous community-based natural resource management can generate both conservation benefit and economic development opportunity. We begin by noting that much of the Indigenous estate in north Australia is either thinly populated or unpopulated. There is emerging evidence that, in situations where Indigenous people live on their country, ecological and wider benefits are generated via favourable fire regimes, control over weed infestations, and potentially through feral animal harvesting. When people are on country, they generate economic benefit for themselves by harvesting wildlife for consumption and engage with the market sector by using natural resources in commercial enterprise like arts and crafts production. We argue that there is a strong correlation between such activities and cost-effective natural resource management. Links between landcare, wildlife use and biodiversity conservation need to be recognized, celebrated and supported. The removal of many barriers to enhanced and innovative Indigenous participation in such activities, and equitable public support through programs like Landcare, will facilitate sustainable economic development options that are compatible with Indigenous priorities, while ameliorating Indigenous disadvantage.

ISBN: 0 7315 4919 8

ISSN: 1442 3871

Updated:  13 May 2009/Responsible Officer:  Centre Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications