Biodiversity management in Australia is underlain by legislative mechanisms such as the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwlth) and policies such as the national Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity and the international Convention on Biological Diversity. While these policy directives encompass a range of values and components of ‘biodiversity’, on-ground planning and development assessments often focus only on threatened species and ecosystems as defined in state and national legislation. In regions such as northern Cape York Peninsula, which is managed by the resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as Deed of Grant in Trust (DOGIT), planning for biodiversity management needs to acknowledge the high cultural values of such areas and to encompass Indigenous values and perspectives. A recent study assessed the significant species and habitats of the greater Lockerbie Scrub – the northernmost extent of rainforest in Australia and a region with high species and ecosystem diversity. While it is acknowledged that research into the cultural values of the plant species is preliminary, the minimal overlap between lists of flora from Western (i.e. under legislative mechanisms) and Traditional Owner perspectives suggests that cultural differences in values and perceptions may result in differing conservation management priorities. A more holistic, integrative approach to local and national biodiversity management planning could accommodate multiple perspectives and enable greater environmental and socio-cultural sustainability.
LYNCH, J., Fell, D. G., & McIntyre-Tamwoy, S. (2010). Incorporating Indigenous values with ‘Western’ conservation values in sustainable biodiversity management. Australian Journal of Environmental Management, 17(4), 244-255. https://doi.org/10.1080/14486563.2010.9725272