Australia's Indigenous Carbon economy: a National snapshot

Catherine Robinson, Emily Gerrard, Tracey May, Kristen Maclean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many Indigenous communities in Australia are well situated to provide greenhouse gas abatement and carbon sequestration benefits, but little is known about the factors affecting the capability of Australia's Indigenous organisations to participate in climate change mitigation strategies. This paper provides a ‘snapshot’ summary of certain aspects of Australia's Indigenous organisations' participation in carbon offset schemes. The snapshot provides insight into the degree to which Indigenous organisations are aware of carbon market opportunities in Australia, the level that these Indigenous organisations participate in or engage with carbon-based economic enterprises, and the key pathways through which Indigenous carbon market opportunities are pursued. Analysis of data collected from a national survey conducted between 2011 and 2012 show that most obstacles to Indigenous participation in carbon offset schemes relate to land tenure arrangements; geographic and biophysical factors; low levels of requisite technical, human and financial resources; and appropriate recognition of Indigenous knowledge and cultural responsibilities. The snapshot also highlights the value of supporting regionally specific capacity-building strategies to enable Indigenous people to participate in emerging carbon offset activities and the generation of associated ecosystem services. Cultural, socio-economic or demographic factors that are also likely to influence the ability of many Indigenous communities to participate in carbon market opportunities are identified as important areas for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-132
Number of pages10
JournalGeographical Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


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