Influence of environmental governance regimes on the capacity of Indigenous Peoples to participate in conservation management. Article starts page 87

Date: 26, Mar, 2019
Author(s):   Duncan, T., Villarreal-Rosas, J., Garnett, S.T., Carwardine, J., Robinson, C.J.

A range of international, national and local policy instruments and governance regimes acknowledge Indigenous and local people’s knowledge as a key platform for managing biodiversity and ecosystems, but translation of these commitments into negotiation of conservation priorities with appropriately empowered local communities remains inconsistent. Drawing on a review of conservation area management plans in Australian bioregions identified as having high potential for Indigenous engagement in threatened species management, we examined how the potential for local Indigenous communities to pursue their conservation objectives and the extent to which they are involved in management of significant species, cultural heritage and fire is influenced by different environmental governance regimes. We found that there is currently more scope for Indigenous communities to participate in cultural heritage management than in species or fire management, despite evidence that Indigenous communities seek to engage in managing all aspects of their traditional estates. Species management priorities in Indigenous-driven co-governance regime plans centre on culturally significant species rather than threatened species. We conclude that the current potential for local Indigenous communities to participate in conservation management on equitable terms depends upon the establishment of Indigenous-driven co-governance regimes, and argue that improving levels of engagement of Indigenous Peoples in agency governance regimes requires agencies to better recognise Indigenous worldviews in planning conservation approaches.