Indigenous Communities

and the Environment

WINIFRED CURTIS TRUST SCAMANDER CONSERVATION COVERNANT TASMANIA

About Indigenous Protected Areas

Being sustainable on country means making decisions locally that do not harm country, now or in the future. It means providing future generations with the rights and the abilities to enjoy their responsibilities to country.
Ngurrara Traditional Owners

Photos from Laynhapuy: (Left) Wararrpa near Yilpara. (Right) Fire Management training near Gurrumurru. (Bottom) Removal of marine debris and ghost nets, Laynhapuy coast.

Photos from Laynhapuy: (Left) Wararrpa near Yilpara. (Right) Fire Management training near Gurrumurru. (Bottom) Removal of marine debris and ghost nets, Laynhapuy coast.

What is a protected area?

Protected areas conserve the healthy ecosystems that sustain human life. Our food and water, our agricultural industries and much of our infrastructure all rely on healthy functioning ecosystems.

The Australian Government supports Indigenous communities to manage Indigenous Protected Areas for conservation as part of Australia's network of protected areas so the plants, animals and cultural sites are protected for the benefit of all Australians, in line with international guidelines.

In 1998 South Australia had the honour of hosting the first declared Indigenous Protected Area - Nantawarrina. There are now 51 declared Indigenous Protected Areas across Australia covering over 36 million hectares.

The largest declared Indigenous Protected Area is the Southern Tanami in the Northern Territory, at 10.16 million hectares and the smallest is Pulu Islet in the Torres Strait, at around 15 hectares.

Goals of the Indigenous Protected Area program

The goals of the Indigenous Protected Areas element of the Caring for our Country initiative are to:

  1. Support Indigenous land owners to develop, declare and manage Indigenous Protected Areas on their lands as part of Australia's National Reserve System.
  2. Support Indigenous interests to develop cooperative management arrangements with Government agencies managing protected areas
  3. Support the integration of Indigenous ecological and cultural knowledge with contemporary protected area management practices.