Marine and Freshwater Research
Centre for People, Place and Planet
A wetland policy perspective based on social ecological systems accepts that wetlands are part of landwaterscapes, that people are part of wetland ecosystems, and that the health of wetlands and the health of people are interdependent, evidence of the close, reciprocal and indivisible relationships between nature and culture. These relationships are storied and place-based, associated with place attachment, and are representations of relational values. They are most easily located wherever and whenever Indigenous and local peoples’ knowledge and interests are at play in wetland settings. Legal and administrative processes that recognise Chthonic law and rights for wetlands will elevate relational values and provide the governance arrangements for their inclusion in wetland (and other ecosystem) management. Co-designing with Indigenous and local communities in developing wetland policies and operationalising practices will allow for wetland stories to be shared, respectfully cared for, and built into educational curricula and ecosystem valuation models. (Warning: this article contains the name of deceased Aboriginal person.)
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