Indigenous protected areas are the next generation of conservation

Edéhzhíe is located in the Dehcho region of the Northwest Territories. It is the first Indigenous protected area designated in Canada. Government of Northwest Territories. RightClick/View to enlarge

 - 30. 

The Horn Plateau, with its myriad of lakes, rivers and wetlands, has been a spiritual home for local Dehcho Dene peoples for millennia. In October, the Dehcho First Nations Assembly designated these lands and waters, called Edéhzhíe (eh-day-shae), as an Indigenous protected area (IPA), designed and managed or co-managed by Indigenous communities.

Edéhzhíe is a plateau that rises out of the Mackenzie Valley to the west of Great Slave Lake, in the southwestern part of the Northwest Territories. It covers 14,218 square kilometres. It is more than twice the size of Banff National Park.

I have worked in this region for a number of years, collaborating with communities on Indigenous food security programs. Elders have often referred to the significance of the Horn Plateau as a critical food harvesting location that has sustained communities for many generations.

As local communities encounter an ever-growing number of barriers to food security, including climate change and mounting costs of food production and shipping, it is increasingly clear that these lands must be protected from development.

The significance of Edéhzhíe

Edéhzhíe is important to the Dehcho Dene culture, language and ways of life. By forming Edéhzhíe as an IPA, the management board, consisting of representatives from the Dehcho First Nations and Environment and Climate Change Canada, will make its decisions by consensus, and encourage Indigenous harvesting rights.

The Horn Plateau is a unique ecosystem that provides habitat for diverse wildlife, including a number of threatened species such as the boreal woodland caribou and wood bison.

The Edéhzhíe Protected Area will encourage Dehcho Dene presence on the land. Government of Northwest Territories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau included a $1.3-billion nature fund in the 2018 federal budget. It called for partnerships with corporate, not-for-profit, provincial and territorial partners. Edéhzhíe is the first IPA announced, and it will make a contribution to Canada’s international commitment to protecting 17 per cent of land and fresh water by 2020. It will also support Indigenous capacity to lead these processes to conserve land and the species that rely on it.

Canada has 77 different designations for its parks and protected areas. This complexity can lead to serious complications over land-use management decisions and the stakeholders invested in them. Co-management structures, where Indigenous and Crown governments partner to jointly share in the decision-making, only represent three per cent of our protected areas.

IPAs have been presented as a way forward for communities and conservation, but what are the risks and possibilities?

Lessons from Banff and the Canadian Rockies

A Dene Elder once emphasized to me that before we look forward, we need to understand where we came from.

For many Indigenous communities across the country, the histories of parks and protected areas are filled with experiences of displacement and cultural loss.

The Edéhzhíe region became a protected area under Dehcho law at the 2018 annual assembly. Henry Sabourin of Deh Gáh Got’îê First Nation in Fort Providence (centre) is an Elder and traditional knowledge holder, and has spent time in Edéhzhíe. (Amos Scott)

Canada’s first protected area, Banff National Park, plays a central role in the Canadian imaginary of what parks should represent: beauty, wilderness and conservation. This romantic view of Banff erases the traumatic legacies around the formation of the park.

Since 2004, I have been working with the Nakoda First Nation in Alberta to understand the impacts of the creation of Banff National Park on their communities. For much of that time, I recorded their struggles of being displaced from their traditional territories, beginning in 1885, and then being denied access throughout the first few decades of the 20th century.

This displacement and denied access was facilitated by park management and supported by the police, missionaries, government officials and tourism entrepreneurs. They were motivated by two objectives: to ensure that Nakoda subsistence practices of hunting, fishing and gathering did not interfere with growing tourism economies, and that Nakoda community members remained on reserves to be exposed to assimilatory institutions like the church and residential schools.

Similar to many Indigenous communities across the nation, Nakoda peoples are still healing from the separation from their sacred territories and the cultural repression they endured.

Despite these histories, change is possible, even in Banff.

Wild bison return to Banff National Park (Parks Canada)

The Nakoda have slowly, but insistently, increased their presence in the park. They began to return to sacred locations in 2001, gained plant and medicinal harvesting rights in 2004, became involved with elk culls in 2007, and the monitoring of grizzly bears in 2012. They led the Buffalo Treaty in 2015, which enabled new conservation partnerships around the reintroduction of bison to the park in 2017.

Indigenous models of conservation and stewardship

For the Dehcho First Nation, central to establishing Edéhzhíe was the expansion of Dehcho K’éhodi, a stewardship program where Dene guardians are responsible for many aspects of monitoring and management.

European-based conceptualizations of parks do not consider humans to be a fundamental part of a healthy ecosystem. It is time to rethink this approach.

Indigenous communities globally have millennia of experience with sustainable land use. IPAs are a step in the right direction precisely because Indigenous wildlife management and conservation practices are more holistic, inclusive of humans and their knowledge.

In British Columbia, after a landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling found the Tsilhqot’in (Chil-co-tin) peoples have title to traditional territories, Dasiqox 'Tribal' Park was established in 2017. [N.B.: The term tribe must be shunned in future.]

This new designation of park covers 3,120 sq. km. It protects the cultural and ecological values of the Tsilhqot’in as it asserts land rights on the basis of Indigenous law. This provides an alternative model of governance and land management.

Further afield, the Māori, the Indigenous peoples of New Zealand (Aotearoa), also offer leading developments on environmental protection through IPAs.

Mount Taranaki in New Zealand will be granted the same legal rights as a person. (David Frampton/AP Photo)

There, the federal government returned Te Urewera, a former national park, to the Tūhoe peoples in 2014. This park then became its own legal entity, where Tūhoe are the only decision makers. In 2017, the Whanganui River became the second natural resource in New Zealand to attain a legal identity, with the rights, duties and liabilities of a person.

Achieving personhood status has added numerous layers of legislative protection. Tongariro and Egmont National Parks in New Zealand are following this legal precedent by pursuing personhood status for key ecological features.

What is the future of conservation and IPAs?

Providing personhood status to parks may seem like a stretch, but it’s not. In the United States, corporations are granted personhood status to protect their bottom line. I would suggest that New Zealanders, led by Māori leaders, have their priorities straight. Maybe someday Canadians can learn by these examples and follow suit.

Learning from diverse Indigenous approaches to conservation is valuable, however, taking responsibility for repressive colonial policies is vital.

Histories of displacement in parks are directly linked to the contemporary issues faced by many Indigenous communities across the country, including gross health inequalities and disproportionate levels of food insecurity. There is a need to acknowledge how these colonial histories have impacted land-use management decisions and become a barrier to conservation.

IPAs can help Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada foster alliances and navigate political corridors together for the betterment of both ecosystems and local peoples. In my mind, IPAs can be a fundamental part of the process to reconcile the past and welcome the next generation of conservation.


- Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Communities, Thompson Rivers University

Disclosure statement

Courtney Mason receives funding from SSHRC and CIHR.


Thompson Rivers University

Thompson Rivers University provides funding as a member of The Conversation CA-FR.

Thompson Rivers University provides funding as a member of The Conversation CA.

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Edéhzhíe is an IPA of the Dehcho Dene First Nation


Return of the American Bison

North America's largest mammal, the American bison, is an enduring symbol of the Great Plains.

Bison once ranged from Canada to New Mexico and from Nevada to the Appalachian Mountains. By 1889, their populations were reduced from 30 to 60 million animals to fewer than 1000.

Bison were pushed to the brink of extinction by a number of factors, including over hunting by hide hunters, trains, competition with cattle and horses, and disease. Bison survived near extinction with the help of prescient Native Americans and early conservationists who worked to protect the species through effective federal wildlife management policy. Today bison are considered a conservation success story.

More than 500,000 bison now live on the Great Plains in protected herds that range on national, state, local, and private lands, and in 2016 President Obama codified the bison’s place in America’s cultural imagination by signing a law making bison the country’s first national mammal.

The film is the Winner of a 2019 Heartland Emmy Award

The Return of the Musk Ox 


The experiment of repopulating the Taimyr Peninsula with the musk ox, which began thirty years ago, has enriched Arctic biodiversity.

Fifty oxen taken from Alaska and Canada have by now formed a population of several thousand heads, providing population material for other Arctic areas as well.

The film crew sets out to search for musk oxen in their new home at the northern tip of the Taimyr Peninsula in order to thoroughly get to know these bison-like animals.

While following the trail of the musk ox along the northernmost latitudes of Eurasia, the crew also meets other inhabitants of these areas.

The tough nature, constantly testing the limits of human endurance, is home for reindeer, wolves, polar foxes and several bird species.


Suddenly the Settler-Governments realize that they don't hold all lands in their grip.

Indigenous peoples are crucial for conservation – a quarter of all land is in their hands

Maasai women on a conservation project in Kenya. Joan de la Malla, Author provided

By,, - 17. 

Indigenous peoples have a deep and unique connection to the lands they inhabit. This connection has persisted throughout the world, despite centuries of colonisation, displacement and suppression of their cultural identities.

What has never been appreciated is the contemporary spatial extent of Indigenous influence – just how much of Earth’s surface do Indigenous peoples still own or manage?

Given that Indigenous peoples now make up less than 5% of the global population, you might imagine the answer to be “very little”. But you would be wrong.

In our new research, published in Nature Sustainability, we mapped Indigenous lands throughout the world, country by country. We found that these covered 38 million square kilometres – about a quarter of all land outside Antarctica.

Purple shading shows the percentage of each square degree mapped that is under indigenous management. Garnett et al. 2018

Some 87 countries around the world, on every inhabited continent, have people who identify as Indigenous and contain land that is still owned, managed or influenced by Indigenous people.

These areas are very valuable for conservation. About 65% of Indigenous lands have not been intensively developed, compared with 44% of other lands. Similarly, just 10% of the world’s urban areas, villages and non-remote croplands are on Indigenous peoples’ lands.

By contrast, Indigenous lands encompass nearly two-thirds of the world’s most remote and least-inhabited regions. These are the places with the lowest levels of built environments, crop land, pasture land, human population density, night-time lights, railways, roads and navigable waterways.

An incredible 40% of lands listed by national governments around the world as being managed for conservation are Indigenous lands. Some of this has official recognition. For instance, Australia would never meet its promises under the Convention on Biological Diversity if its Indigenous peoples had not been prepared to allocate more than 27 million hectares of their land to conservation.

A great contribution

This highlights the great contribution that Indigenous peoples are making to conservation. Many groups have instituted land-management regimes that are already delivering significant conservation benefits.

Yet there is danger in making assumptions about the aspirations of Indigenous peoples for managing their lands. Without proper consultation, conservation projects based on Indigenous stewardship may be unsuccessful at best and risk perpetuating colonial legacies at worst.

Conservation partnerships will only be successful if the rights, knowledge systems and practices of Indigenous peoples are fully acknowledged. Many Indigenous peoples have acknowledged this fact, by calling for partnerships that respect, understand and follow local processes. There is no one size that fits all – Indigenous peoples are hugely diverse.

Indeed, so important are local perspectives to Indigenous relationships with land that we pondered for a year on the ethics of creating a global map. However, we also felt that the story of enduring Indigenous influence needs to be told. Our final map shows that broad swathes of Asia, Africa, the Americas, Australia and the far north of Europe are Indigenous lands.

Adapted from Garnett et al. 2018. On every inhabited continent there is a significant overlap between Indigenous management and natural lands.

Our results are particularly important at this time when goals for sustainable development after 2020 are being developed. The results also feed into assessments by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the international body that assesses the health of the world’s wildlife diversity and ecosystems. It is much more than biodiversity that relies on Indigenous management of land. So too do many of the ecosystem services that allow humans to thrive.

Finally, we should note that, for many countries, the areas we have mapped are the minimum – further work will almost certainly discover that Indigenous influence extends far further than is currently acknowledged.

Yet our crucial message remains the same: that Indigenous peoples hold the future of much of the world’s wilderness in their hands.

The authors acknowledge the contributions of Beau Austin, Benjamin McGowan, Eduardo S. Brondizio and Neil Burgess to this article and the research that underpins it.


 - Professor of Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University

 - Researcher, University of Helsinki

 - Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO

 - Professor of Geography and Environmental Systems, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

 Research Assistant, Charles Darwin University

 - Geospatial Scientist, Charles Darwin University

 - Professor, The University of Queensland

 - Professor of Biodiversity and Human Development, Manchester Metropolitan University

 - Senior Research Fellow, Charles Darwin University

 - PhD candidate, The University of Queensland

 - Senior Advisor, Stockholm University

 - Charles Darwin University

 - Scientific Advisor, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest

Disclosure statement

James Watson receives funding from the Australian Research Council. He is the Director of Science and Knowledge at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Kerstin Zander receives funding from the Humboldt Foundation. She is affiliated with the German Development Institute.

works for Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Catherine Robinson, Erle C. Ellis, Hayley Geyle, Ian Leiper, John E. Fa, Micha Victoria Jackson, Pernilla Malmer, Stephen Garnett, Tom Duncan, and Álvaro Fernández-Llamazares do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.



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Stockholm University

CSIRO provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation AU.

Charles Darwin University and University of Queensland provide funding as members of The Conversation AU.

Manchester Metropolitan University and Stockholm University provide funding as members of The Conversation UK.

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The Conversation is funded by the National Research Foundation, eight universities, including the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Rhodes University, Stellenbosch University and the Universities of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Pretoria, and South Africa. It is hosted by the Universities of the Witwatersrand and Western Cape, the African Population and Health Research Centre and the Nigerian Academy of Science. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a Strategic Partner. more


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Remote Indigenous communities are vital for our fragile ecosystems

By  - 13. 

Indigenous rangers like Yugul Mangi senior women (from left to right) Edna Nelson, Cherry Daniels and Julie Roy, are crucial guardians of the outback environment. Emilie Ens, Author provided.

Amid the questioning of government support for remote Aboriginal communities and what Prime Minister Tony Abbott called the “lifestyle choices” of those who live there, the growing role of Aboriginal management of large areas of remote Australia has been overlooked.

There are 1,200 small, discrete Indigenous communities in regional and remote Australia with various sources of income, including federal government “Working on Country” funding, as well as meagre and tightly regulated welfare payments. They fulfil a key role in populating large areas of outback Australia.

Aboriginal communities cover vast and remote areas of Australia in need of environmental management. Altman and Markham 2014

Outback Australia has high biodiversity and would otherwise be unoccupied – and so open to a host of threats including intense and widespread wildfires and invasive species. There is also a long-standing recognition of outstations as important to maintaining the connection of remote-living Aboriginal people to their culture and customary responsibilities.

More than a third of Australia is recognised as Aboriginal owned and managed land, mainly in very remote regions. Given ancestral connections and Aboriginal people’s customary obligations to Country (the land with its inherent natural, cultural and spiritual meaning), they are the best placed to look after it, it is a practice that can be very important to them.

As Cherry Wulumirr Daniels, Senior Ngandi Traditional Owner and founder of the Yugul Mangi Women Rangers in Ngukurr said:

Our ancestors were Rangers - we were Rangers for 40,000 years and are Rangers today. It’s a responsibility for us to look after those things. I am owned by and have ownership of those things…ownership to a tree or stone or billabong. We are not doing this for ourselves we are doing this for our Country and for our people and for the sake of our culture, keeping our culture alive and strong.

Remote reserves

Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) represent a large and growing proportion of Australia’s National Reserve System, especially in remote Australia, and are funded largely by the federal government. IPAs are declared voluntarily by Traditional Owners who commit to maintaining the biodiversity and cultural values within them. To achieve this, they also receive government support to establish and operate Indigenous ranger programs. Without remote communities, it is likely that many of these programs would collapse.

Ranger programs provide economic value and culturally meaningful jobs to Indigenous people, who in turn manage threats to Country, protecting ecosystems through management of fire and invasive species, and seeking to rehabilitate degraded lands.

As any farmer will tell you, you cannot just walk off the land and expect it to return to a pre-disturbance state. If you do that, feral animals and weeds spread, large destructive fires become the norm, and Australia’s unique biodiversity is further threatened.

Indeed, the rapid and widespread declines of native mammals across the tropical north might well be due to past de-population and inadequate resourcing of remote communities and regions.

Boosting knowledge

Aboriginal people in remote communities are also collaborating with scientists to understand better the condition of biodiversity in remote Australia. This can benefit both conservation and socio-economic development.

One example is the Yugul Mangi Rangers, based in the remote community of Ngukurr, Southeast Arnhem Land, who are working with Macquarie University, the Atlas of Living Australia and the Australian National University to survey biodiversity in one of the least scientifically understood parts of Australia.

Similarly, in north-central Arnhem Land, the Djelk Rangers, together with the Maningrida School, have worked with scientists to identify 25 new species of tarantula, as well as milking spiders for anti-venom production. The school has also hosted a pilot Learning on Country program that has seen improved attendance for senior students considering a career in rangering.

Yugul Mangi Rangers Kelvin Rogers and Simon Ponto found the near-threatened Leichhardt’s Grasshopper in remote SE Arnhem fauna surveys. Photo: Emilie Ens

Aboriginal Sea Rangers, also based in remote communities, are playing a key role in management of endangered sea turtles. Australia’s northern coastline is monitored by more than 40 clan groups through the Ghostnets Australia alliance, which has recovered more than 13,000 discarded or lost fishing nets, which might otherwise have killed endangered marine life.

National benefits

Indigenous Protected Areas and ranger programs perform a vital public service of national and global conservation benefit. Though not without challenges, these programs are performing well above expectations and continue to grow with both Aboriginal community, government, private sector and philanthropic support. They enjoy considerable widespread support and acclaim.

So why would the Australian government consider undermining such rare and uncontested success? Rangers are not only important for Australia’s ecological health, but these jobs also empower people and are one of the few culturally meaningful jobs on offer in remote communities.

Support for remote communities, which are often in hard-to-reach places with climates that many non-Indigenous Australians find unbearable, is crucial to maintaining this public service. Of course there are challenges in providing housing and infrastructure, education and health services in such remote places. Like remote pastoralists, some indigenous families make personal sacrifices to send children away from home for education or else ensure attendance in remote community schools.

Tony Abbott has asked the wrong question. What needs to be considered is not the the value to taxpayers in supporting so-called lifestyle choices, but rather how we, as a nation, can provide sustained support to Aboriginal people who take the hard decision to live “on-country” so as to meet their enduring cultural responsibilities and improve their livelihood prospects.

All over this continent, from the remotest deserts to the tropical savannas, Aboriginal people are committed to maintaining the environmental values of their lands for themselves and for all Australians. In different political circumstances they might be lauded as nation-builders and given the sort of praise and support that colonial frontiersmen have historically enjoyed.

At a time when governments of all persuasions are struggling to close the gap, it is sensible to recognise the opportunities that remote Indigenous communities give to their residents and the nation.


 - Professor, Research School of Biology, Australian National University

 - DECRA Research Fellow, Macquarie University

 - Emeritus Professor, Australian National University


Indigenous ranger programs are working in Queensland – they should be expanded

There is public appetite in Queensland to expand and enhance the state’s Indigenous ranger program. Author provided

By  &  - 14. January 2018

Indigenous ranger programs are a rare good news story of a government initiative that delivers outstanding social, economic, cultural and environmental outcomes. Now, new data have revealed that many Queenslanders would like to see these programs expanded.

Recent polling shows that 80% of Queenslanders, including 70% of One Nation voters, support Indigenous land and sea management, while 88% of Queenslanders support a proposal to create 200 new ranger jobs over the next ten years.

The 2017 Queensland budget pledged 25 new Indigenous ranger jobs over the next three years. That would bring the total number of state government-supported ranger positions to 101. As our research below shows, there should be much more support to bring Queensland Indigenous ranger numbers into line with other big states.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities see these programs as a cornerstone of cultural maintenance and management of their ancestral estates. There is a strong case for the program to be dramatically expanded in Queensland and beyond.

Why do Queenslanders support more Indigenous ranger jobs?

Indigenous Natural Cultural Resource Management (NCRM) organisations and ranger groups perform many tasks. These include management of heritage sites, surveillance, monitoring and management of wildlife, fire management, feral animal control, weed control and recording of Indigenous ecological and cultural knowledge.

Local communities, and even the United Nations, have widely acknowledged the benefits of Indigenous ranger programs.

Gerry Turpin, a Mbarbaram man from Northern Queensland and ethnobotanist at the Queensland Herbarium, explains:

For us, it’s about meaningful employment for our young people including training and opportunities to develop a career. The program not only benefits the individual but is significant for their families and the wider community. Benefits are not only employment but also physical, mental and spiritual health, and pride in our culture and country.

We need rangers on country as our country has been under assault since colonial times. Impacts include mining, cattle and weeds, which then impacts on our flora and fauna. Our strong and diverse presence on country presents an opportunity to work with Indigenous biocultural knowledge systems and Western science.

Participants for the ‘Skills on Country – Cultural Mapping Workshops for Young Traditional Owners’ project on Mbarbaram Country. Funded by the Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger program. Gerry Turpin, Author provided

A 2015 Australian government review quantified the benefits of the national Indigenous ranger program.

Using the Social Return on Investment methodology, the review found that an investment of A$35.2 million from government and a range of third parties between 2009 and 2015 generated A$96.5 million in social, economic, cultural and environmental returns. That’s nearly a threefold return on investment.

The review also found that, unlike many Indigenous community development programs of the past, the ranger program is:

…effectively overcoming barriers to addressing Indigenous disadvantage and engaging Indigenous Australians on country in meaningful employment to achieve large-scale conservation outcomes, thus aligning the interests of Indigenous Australians and the broader community.

Planning for the Future on Mbabaram Country.

The Indigenous ranger community-based initiative has grown to produce many well-established organisations with expertise in knowledge integration, planning, geographical information systems (GIS), research, training and management.

History of the Indigenous ranger program

In 2017, both the Australian government’s Indigenous ranger program, Working on Country, and Queensland’s Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger program celebrated their 10th anniversaries.

Indigenous rangers are also funded through other avenues such as non-government organisations, national parks and other supporting institutions.

The Working on Country program supports 109 ranger groups and 777 full-time equivalent ranger positions across Australia. The map below shows the breakdown of state and territory funded positions in 2014-15. It highlights that the Queensland Indigenous ranger workforce is substantially smaller than those of Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The breakdown of Indigenous ranger programs in place around Australia. Author provided 

Queensland rangers make up only about 8% of the Working on Country program. Queensland Indigenous Protected Areas make up less then 6% of Australia’s government-funded Indigenous conservation estate. However, Queensland is Australia’s second-largest state or territory, covering 22.5% of the country.

According to the 2016 census, 29% of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in Queensland, most of them in the central, south and southeast of the state.

PM&C/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

The disproportionately low allocation of Indigenous ranger positions and Indigenous Protected Areas in Queensland relative to its size and Indigenous population warrants attention at the national level.

The number of Indigenous rangers in Queensland needs to be expanded to reflect the state’s geographic, cultural and environmental challenges. Author provided

Greater support needed in Queensland

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland are not receiving support for Indigenous rangers to match the size of the state and Indigenous population. Most Queensland Indigenous ranger jobs are offered in the remote north of the state and southeast.

Our research reveals large gaps in documented Indigenous biocultural knowledge in southwest and central Queensland, where many Aboriginal people live. This points to the need for enhanced biocultural resource maintenance and possibly revival, which expansion of the ranger program in this region could achieve.

The Queensland government has called for donors to support the Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger program. Considering the outstanding environmental, economic and social benefits of Indigenous rangers and their overwhelming support by Queenslanders, more could be done in-house.

The Queensland government pledge to add 25 ranger positions, for a total of 101, should be increased fivefold. This would reflect the geographic, cultural and environmental challenges the state faces.

While the Indigenous ranger support by the state and federal governments to date is to be commended, the Queensland community clearly has an appetite to expand and enhance the Queensland program.


- Senior lecturer, Macquarie University

- Assistant Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University

Disclosure statement

Emilie Ens receives funding from The Nature Conservancy, The Atlas of Living Australia and the Australian Research Council

Alana Grech does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


James Cook University

Macquarie University

James Cook University and Macquarie University provide funding as members of The Conversation AU.

The Conversation is funded by the National Research Foundation, eight universities, including the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Rhodes University, Stellenbosch University and the Universities of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Pretoria, and South Africa. It is hosted by the Universities of the Witwatersrand and Western Cape, the African Population and Health Research Centre and the Nigerian Academy of Science. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a Strategic Partner. more


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Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons licence.