Worldwide there are examples of ecosystems that exist in their current state due to the complex interactions between people and the environment over time. Traditional patterns of land use have contributed to the maintenance of biodiversity and other natural values. The resultant landscapes are living examples of cultural heritage, rich in natural and cultural values because of the presence of people. Protection of these landscapes requires an approach that recognises and integrates natural and cultural values, maintains traditional connections to the environment and engages people in the management of the landscape. In recent years there has been wider recognition of the important role that Indigenous knowledge can play in developing and implementing natural resource management
(NRM) strategies. The biophysical surroundings of many Indigenous peoples are of symbolic significance to them, hence their perception and values of natural resources may be vastly different to those of scientists or managers. A major challenge remains to identify pathways of integration for Indigenous and scientific knowledge and systems. We discuss a research framework that explicitly embraces the co-production of knowledge to jointly develop linked biophysical and cultural indicators of ecosystem change. These indicators were developed to facilitate cooperative NRM within a World Heritage Area, the Wet Tropical Forest of Far North Queensland, Australia. Our approach practices multi-directional learning and mutual benefit, promoting cross transfer of skills through the cooperative generation and documentation of information.
|Keywords:||Cooperative Research, Research Partnerships, Cooperative Management, Knowledge Integration, Indicator Development, Cultural Indicators|
Research Fellow, Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACE), Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Bana Yarralji Bubu Inc., Queensland, Australia