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Piecemeal stewardship activities miss numerous social and environmental benefits associated with culturally appropriate ways of caring for country


Larson, S and Jarvis, D and Stoeckl, N and Barrowei, R and Coleman, B and Groves, D and Hunter, J and Lee, M and Markham, M and Larson, A and Finau, G and Douglas, M, Piecemeal stewardship activities miss numerous social and environmental benefits associated with culturally appropriate ways of caring for country, Journal of Environmental Management, 326 Article 116750. ISSN 0301-4797 (2023) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.116750


Prior research has identified both the contribution that people make to nature and the contribution that nature makes to people (by enhancing wellbeing) – with clear conceptual models to describe the interactions. Prior research has also made a clear case for incorporating insights from multiple perspectives and knowledge systems when seeking to better understand this interactive system. What is lacking, is guidance on how to operationalise some of these ideas to provide bespoke advice to environmental managers. Arguably, we have an adequate, albeit imperfect, understanding of how to operationalise (measure, value and/or otherwise account for) some parts of the conceptual model. There is, for example, abundant literature that describes different ways of valuing Ecosystem services, and a growing body of literature that describes and quantifies the ecological benefits of various stewardship activities, which will subsequently also generate an indirect benefit to people (since improved ecological conditions will improve Ecosystem services). In comparison, we know relatively little about the way in which stewardship activities directly benefit people – and it is on this gap that our paper focuses. We partially fill that knowledge gap by first reaching out to and learning from some of Australia's First Nations People. Key learnings underscore the inter-connectedness of the system, and the need for resource managers to not only monitor the extent and condition of natural system but also the extent and condition of an inextricably connected human system, in addition to the human-nature interactions. We clearly identify ways in which those insights can be used to improve and extend accounting frameworks, such as SEEA Ecosystem Accounts developed by the United Nations that are often used by natural resource managers. In so doing, we generate new insights about Indigenous stewardship (Caring for Country) and methods of accounting for and monitoring stewardship activities. As such, our work provides a practical illustration of one way to populate conceptual models with ‘real world’ data that also incorporates different world views, to support decision makers for improved social and environmental outcomes.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Kakadu, indigenous accounting, system of environmental economic accounting (SEEA), wellbeing, Australia, first nations peoples worldviews
Research Division:Economics
Research Group:Other economics
Research Field:Ecological economics
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Stoeckl, N (Professor Natalie Stoeckl)
UTAS Author:Finau, G (Dr Glenn Finau)
ID Code:154264
Year Published:2023
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:College Office - CoBE
Deposited On:2022-11-17
Last Modified:2023-01-06

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