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The role of western science in wetland management by Aboriginal communities in the ‘Top End’ of Australia

Storrs, MJ, Yibarbuk, DM, Whitehead, PJ and Finlayson, CM (2001). The role of western science in wetland management by Aboriginal communities in the ‘Top End’ of Australia. In: Carbonell, M, Nathai-Gyan, N and Finlayson, CM Science and Communities: Strengthening Partnerships for Effective Wetland Management, Quebec, Canada, 6-12 August 2000.

Document type: Conference Paper
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Author Storrs, MJ
Yibarbuk, DM
Whitehead, PJ
Finlayson, CM
Title The role of western science in wetland management by Aboriginal communities in the ‘Top End’ of Australia
Conference Name Science and Communities: Strengthening Partnerships for Effective Wetland Management
Conference Location Quebec, Canada
Conference Dates 6-12 August 2000
Editor Carbonell, M
Nathai-Gyan, N
Finlayson, CM
Place of Publication Memphis, USA
Publisher Ducks Unlimited
Publication Year 2001
ISBN 0-9617279-6-9   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 7
End Page 13
Total Pages 7
HERDC Category E2 - Conference Publication - Full written paper, non refereed proceedings (internal)
Abstract An incursion of the invasive Central American weed, Mimosa pigra, was the catalyst to initiate a process of wetland management planning on Aboriginal lands in the Blyth-Liverpool Rivers region of central Arnhem Land, northern Australia. The Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation, with the assistance of the Northern Land Council, strengthened community capacity to undertake wetland management by brokering resources and training which led to the establishment of the Djelk Community Ranger Program. Scientific concepts were introduced through collaborative inventory surveys with the Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist and more recently the investigation of sustainable wildlife utilization and management with the Key Centre for Tropical Wildlife Management at the Northern Territory University. Based on this experience, we argue that Aboriginal communities are best supported in the process of wetland management planning through assistance with concrete local issues before being asked to consider more abstract scientific and management policy issues operating over broader scales. Western science should be emphasized late on a continuum of management planning that develops as the community’s capacity to participate in and control the process increases. Scientists and research organizations willing to assist in building the community’s capacity to manage resources locally and negotiate effectively are most likely to deliver positive outcomes for both wetland conservation and community welfare. This is a particularly important issue while government, industry and conservation groups are still struggling at the policy level to resolve competing pressures for development and conservation.
 
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Created: Fri, 12 Sep 2008, 08:35:25 CST by Administrator