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Indigenous products from Indigenous people: linking enterprise, wildlife use and conservation

Whitehead, PJ (2003). Indigenous products from Indigenous people: linking enterprise, wildlife use and conservation. In: Seizing our Economic Future Forum, Alice Springs, 6-7 March 2003.

Document type: Conference Paper
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Author Whitehead, PJ
Title Indigenous products from Indigenous people: linking enterprise, wildlife use and conservation
Conference Name Seizing our Economic Future Forum
Conference Location Alice Springs
Conference Dates 6-7 March 2003
Place of Publication Web Based (NT Government)
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Publication Year 2003
HERDC Category E2 - Conference Publication - Full written paper, non refereed proceedings (internal)
Abstract Indigenous people in the Northern Territory seek opportunities to develop enterprise based on commercial use of native plants and animals. Operating examples include ranching of saltwater crocodiles and freshwater turtles. Other options are constrained by regulation ostensibly intended to promote sustainability of use, but which also restrict Aboriginal access to resources for reasons apparently unrelated to sustainability. Unnecessary barriers are particularly unfortunate because such harvests often constitute the only economic options realistically available to remote communities. Because Aboriginal lands are some of the most bio-diverse, sustainable enterprise that encourages Aboriginal people to be active on their lands can also deliver regional and national conservation benefits Re-establishing customary fire management regimes, and monitoring and controlling weeds and feral animals all deliver public benefits. However, resolving the mix of institutional, socio-economic and ecological issues needed for significant advances in plant and animal-based enterprise is beyond the capacity of individual Aboriginal communities. Integrated systems of support are required. Gathering the full range of administrative support and expertise will depend on high levels of collaboration among Government and non-Government agencies, acting with the support of Aboriginal communities. Identifying high value niche markets that offer premiums for Indigenous origin and establishing strategies for servicing them are particularly important. Regional-scale trials of integrated systems for commercial use of wildlife can provide a vehicle for achieving the necessary levels of collaboration and rigorously testing options. Experience gained in even modest initiatives may make important contributions to building capacity to engage in a wider range of commercial activity.
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