'Buffalo Belong Here, As Long As He Doesn't Do Too Much Damage': Indigenous Perspectives on the Place of Alien Species in Australia

Centre for Natural Resources Law and Policy, Faculty of Law, University of Wollongongong
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australasian Journal of Natural Resources Law and Policy, 2013, 16 (2), pp. 157 - 196
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
ABSTRACT: Over the last three decades, commentators from the social sciences and beyond have produced a copious body of literature, linking the regulation of invasive alien species (IAS) with nativism and xenophobia. This discourse has largely developed without adequately engaging with key areas of the wider regulatory debate, including the views of community groups, such as, the agricultural product sector, environmentalists and Indigenous land managers. Notwithstanding these omissions, few commentators have addressed the allegations of nativism and xenophobia levelled against IAS regimes. Alien species can, and do, become invasive, threatening human pursuits and biodiversity. At the same time, society has developed complex relationships with alien species where species such as introduced pigs and horses can be seen as both an IAS and a resource. What is more, Indigenous land managers regard all species as living beings that can earn their place in country. The strength of the social sciences discourse lies in its premise that society needs to re-define its relationship with nature, including species that humans have introduced. Indigenous perspectives, as they apply in Australia, potentially offer a `road map for drawing together commonalities in the IAS literature, which in turn can lead to better-quality regulation, particularly with regard to animal IAS.
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