Indigenous landholders

Newhaven Station, Northern Territory | Nick Rains

Indigenous landholders are vital partners helping the nation reach its conservation goals. In the past decade, they have made the single greatest contribution to building the National Reserve System, adding more than 26 million hectares to the protected area network.

In remote and regional Australia, Indigenous Australians have cared for country for tens of thousands of years, using traditional knowledge and expertise. Often spared the impact of development and agriculture, their lands are of high conservation value, with rare and healthy ecosystems - refuges for vulnerable plants and animals.

Since 1997, Indigenous communities have declared 52 Indigenous Protected Areas on their lands, retaining their ownership but making their lands part of the National Reserve System and promising to manage them for conservation in the interests of all Australians.

Indigenous Protected Areas make up a third of all land protected in the National Reserve System.

They are a pathway to jobs on country, linking conservation to economic development. Indigenous communities report benefits in health, education and social cohesion from forming Indigenous Protected Areas.

Find out more about the Indigenous Protected Area network.

More information