Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) as a Model for Integrated Natural Cultural Resource Management (INCRM)

By Julian Tyacke Gorman and Sivaram Vemuri.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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In the Northern Territory of Australia, Payment for Ecosystem Services is a relatively new tool which is fairly well integrated within a number of Indigenous Ranger Programs and contributes to a considerable proportion of their total operational budgets. As a tool the extent of its application is determined by the buyer of this service which in this early stage is mostly State and Commonwealth governments. The purpose of the paper is to suggest that instead of PES being merely a tool to assist in Integrated Natural and Cultural Resource Management (INCRM) it could be used as a framework to remodel the way all land management activities are valued, governed and delivered. There are several advantages to promoting PES as a model rather than merely use it as a tool especially on Indigenous lands. (1) This would put control back into the hands of the people who own and have lived on that country for thousands of years. (2) Sustaining INCRM practices by aligning economic, social, cultural and political aspects the PES model will provide greater control of the decision-making models to people with Indigenous knowledge and scientific knowhow, who wish to adapt in managing their resources. However like many other notions relating to management on Indigenous lands, such a proposal comes with caveats. The experiences of working on an Australian Research Council project grant provided opportunities to examine these. The most fundamental of these caveats are ways to satisfy the desire of Aboriginal people to have holistic control of INCRM of their lands and resources and at the same time satisfy the requirements of the funding bodies by providing evidences of results for funding expenditures. This paper therefore calls for a fundamental shift in government policy and models of delivery of funding to make PES operational and be an effective framework for INCRM.

Keywords: Sustainable Development, Indigenous Knowledge, Model, Resource Management, Evidence Based Funding

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp.11-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 785.396KB).

Julian Tyacke Gorman

Research Fellow, Livelihood and Policy Theme, School for Environmental Research, Institute of Advanced Studies, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

Julian has worked in the Northern Territory of Australia for the last 10 years and has a botany and resource management background. During this time he has been involved in research related to the utilisation of wildlife as an enterprise development option for Aboriginal communities. In addition to looking at the opportunities and barriers that exist he has in the last 3 years been seconded to the Northern Land Council to assist Aboriginal communities in developing enteprises in this area. An integral component of this work is ensuring ecological, economic, social and cultural considerations are taken into account. Julian is interested in participatory planning techniques and models to progress Indigenous livelihoods which are more community driven and focused.

Sivaram Vemuri

Associate Professor, School of Law and Business, Faculty of Law Buisness and Arts, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

Sivaram (Ram) Vemuri has been working for twenty years as an Economist at Charles Darwin University, Australia. He is currently an Associate Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Law, Business and Arts at the university.


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