Contribution of Indigenous Peoples' understandings and relational frameworks to invasive alien species management.

Published online
12 Oct 2023
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
People and Nature

Wehi, P. M. & Kamelamela, K. L. & Whyte, K. & Watene, K. & Reo, N.
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Introduced species that spread and become invasive are recognised as a major threat to global biological diversity, ecosystem resilience and economic stability. Eradication is often a default conservation management strategy even when it may not be feasible for a variety of reasons. Assessment of the substantive socioeconomic and ecological impacts of invasive alien species (IAS), both negative and positive, is increasingly viewed as an important step in management. We argue that one solution to IAS management is to align models of alien species management with Indigenous management frameworks that are relational and biocultural. We make the theoretical case that centring Indigenous management frameworks promises to strengthen overall management responses and outcomes because they attend directly to human and environmental justice concerns. We unpack the origins of the 'introduced species paradigm' to understand how binary framing of so-called 'aliens' and 'natives' recalls harmful histories and alienates Indigenous stewardship. Such a paradigm thereby may limit application of Indigenous frameworks and management, and impede long-term biodiversity protection solutions. We highlight how biocultural practices applied by Indigenous Peoples to IAS centre protecting relationships, fulfilling responsibilities and realising justice. Finally, we argue for a pluralistic vision that acknowledges multiple alternative Indigenous relationships and responses to introduced and IAS which can contribute to vibrant futures where all elements of society, including kin in the natural world, are able to flourish.

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