Australian Indigenous insights into ecosystem services: Beyond services towards connectedness - People, place and time
Stoeckl, NE and Jarvis, D and Larson, S and Larson, A and Grainger, D, and the Ewamian Aboriginal Corporation, Australian Indigenous insights into ecosystem services: Beyond services towards connectedness - People, place and time, Ecosystem Services, 50 Article 101341. ISSN 2212-0416 (2021) [Refereed Article]
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment focused attention on benefit flows from ecosystems to humans, although nowadays, ecosystem service (ES) researchers typically acknowledge reciprocal flows from humans to nature and there is growing recognition of the need to better incorporate insights from other cultures. We set out to do this, giving primacy to the voice of an Australian Aboriginal group during a workshop that developed an (Aboriginal) model of the nature-people relationship. ES were a component of the model, but the Aboriginal model was not 'atomistic' (with separable parcels of land, separable ES, or separable individuals who are not part of community); it focused primarily on connections between and within the human and natural systems. Temporal dimensions were considerably longer than those commonly considered by Western scientists, feelings and spirituality were central, and stewardship activities were highlighted as not only improving the environment but also directly improving wellbeing. Evidently, Country needs to be looked after the 'right way'; it is not enough to simply account for the ES values that are generated or the stewardship activities that are undertaken (e.g. controlling weeds); one also needs to record how this is done (e.g. with respect) and by whom (e.g. traditional owners).
ecosystem services, caring for Country, Aboriginal Australian cultural connections to Country, accounting for ecosystem service values, reciprocal norms and the people-nature relationship