Integrating Indigenous Knowledge for Protected Area Management

Knowledge integration from the bottom up is key for better management of biodiversity and cultural traditions in ancestral estates.

In 2015, Nautilus Impact Investing principal Ian Dutton was invited to contribute to an innovative multi-faceted evaluation of an Indigenous Protected Area program in Australia–the Wunambal Gaambera Healthy Country Plan.

Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) are voluntarily dedicated by Indigenous groups on Indigenous owned or managed land or sea country. They are recognized by the Australian Government as an important part of the National Reserve System and now comprise more than 40% of the total area of that system – more than 65 million hectares (or 251,000 square miles).

The evaluation process and findings were recently published in Volume 18 of the Journal of Ecological Management and Restoration. Summary details are available here: The Uunguu Monitoring and Evaluation Committee: Intercultural Governance of a Land and Sea Management Programme in the Kimberley, Australia. If you would like a copy of the full paper, please email

Learn more about the critical role indigenous people play in global land and water stewardship in our story, Investing in Indigenous Stewardship.

Image: Aussi Drone Aerial Photography – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,