Valuing Indigenous cultural connections

4 March 2020

Ecosystems provide humans with the stuff of life: food, fresh water, clean air and materials for shelter.

Talaroo station photo, an important piece of land for the Ewamian people involved in this project

Healthy ecosystems help protect our communities from storm surges and floods. They are places of inspiration, recreation and spiritual connection. The many and varied ways that ecosystems support and enhance human life are known as ecosystem services.

The Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is developing an experimental system to account for ecosystem services. But the metrics and categories used within traditional economic approaches to ecosystem services may have little meaning to Indigenous Australians. Further, traditional economics only accounts for flows of services in a single direction – from nature to people – as opposed to the reciprocity at the heart of Indigenous cultural perspectives: people look after Country looks after people.Valuing Indigenous cultural connections

In a new Hub project led by Dr Diane Jarvis from James Cook University, researchers will collaborate with Ewamian Aboriginal Corporation and the Indigenous Research Committee for Kakadu National Park to investigate how best to acknowledge Indigenous cultural connections within, or alongside, the Australian Government’s accounting system.

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