Linking ecosystem services to human well-being: A case study of Aboriginal people in north Australia

Kamaljit Kaur, Owen Stanley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Paper published in Proceedings

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Abstract

We use the MEA (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment) framework to explore linkages between
ecosystem services and the well-being of Aboriginal people living in the tropical savannas of
northern Australia. Both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities of this region are
vitally dependent upon the ecosystem services available from savannas. Among these, only the
monetary benefits such as from beef and mineral production are used to measure well-being by
the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS). In this study, we gather evidence to support the
proposition that non-monetary benefits are substantially more important for Aboriginal people,
and highlight the drawbacks of the current approach to measure well-being by the ABS.
The ecological services from savannas, such as provisional, cultural, and regulating and
supporting are linked to six main constituents of human well-being i.e. basic materials for life,
good health, security of natural resources, social relations, freedom to access land and water for
the present and future use, and cultural values. The study highlights the importance of various
ecosystems services from savannas, which are often wrongly considered to be a non-productive
and marginal landscape. This research will be useful in developing land use strategies that can be
used to sustain natural resources for the present and future generations and contribute to the
development of policies that can improve well-being of Aboriginal people.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2006 International Society of Ecological Economics Conference Proceedings
Subtitle of host publication Ecological sustainability and human well-being
PublisherISEE Conference proceedings
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes
Event2006 ISEE - International Society Ecological Economics Conference - New Delhi, India
Duration: 16 Dec 200618 Dec 2006

Conference

Conference2006 ISEE - International Society Ecological Economics Conference
Abbreviated titleISEE 2006
CountryIndia
CityNew Delhi
Period16/12/0618/12/06

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