Understanding Indigenous values and priorities for wetlands to guide weed management actions: Lessons from the Nardab floodplain in northern Australia’s Kakadu National Park

Na-gangila Bangalang, Jonathan Nadji, Anita Nayinggul, Sean Nadji, Alfred Nayinggul, S Dempsey, Kenneth Mangiru, James Dempsey, Serena McCartney, Jennifer Mairi Macdonald, Cathy J Robinson

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Abstract

Many wetlands around the world are vulnerable to invasive species and are also culturally important for Indigenous peoples. Yet, translating the complex values Indigenous peoples hold for wetlands into management actions to mitigate the impacts of invasive species can be difficult to put into practice. In this paper, we draw on an Indigenous-led project on the Nardab wetland in Kakadu National Park to show how understanding the local nuance of Indigenous values and priorities in different wetland places can guide more effective and inclusive weed management activities. At Nardab, Indigenous values and priorities guided the choice of three priority sites to manage the impacts of Para grass (Urochloa mutica) weed. Specific values and priorities were identified across the sites, including significant bush tucker populations, and harvesting sites, the ability for the site to support Indigenous knowledge sharing and ceremonial activities and the opportunity for visitors to enjoy a healthy wetland in this World Heritage Area. The values and priorities varied across the sites, so the actions needed to improve the health of these places were also place specific. The results showed that relationships between Indigenous people and places varied from site to site within a given wetland and could not be easily generalized when deciding on effective management activities. The paper highlights the benefits of supporting ecological, cultural and human-focused actions that Indigenous people wish to prioritize at selected sites to ensure the management of weed impacts on wetlands adequately reflect the diverse cultural landscapes that are embedded within Indigenous peoples’ Country.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-116
Number of pages12
JournalEcological Management & Restoration
Volume23
Issue numberS1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

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