Territory Stories

Prepare for Impact! When People and Environment Collide in the Tropics



Prepare for Impact! When People and Environment Collide in the Tropics

Other title

When people and environment collide in the tropics


Abdurohman, Rahman; Arnstrong, Rachel; Boggs, Guy; Bowman, David; Brook Barry; Bunn, Stuart; Campbell, Bruce; Cunningham, Anthony; Davies, Diane; Garnett, Stephen; Gerritsen, Rolf; Griffiths, Tony; Morrison, Joe; Yu, Peter; Wright, S. Joseph; Williams, Meryl; Tay, Simon; Steffe, Will; Stacey, Natasha; Srivastava, Leena; Sodhi, Navjot S; Sanchez-Azofeifa, Arturo; Resosudarmo, Budy P; Portillo-Quintero, Carlos; Nurdianto, Ditya Agung; Muller-Landau, Helene C


Stacey, Natasha E; Boggs, Guy S; Campbell, Bruce M.; Steffen, Will


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT




South East Asia and tropical Australia are undergoing major changes, which are likely to intensify in the next decade. Booming economies in China and India, and potentially other countries, are likely to drive exponential increases in demands for natural resources. Climate change is likely to have severe impacts, ranging from those associated with changes in severity of cyclones, to those associated with sea level rise in shallow oceans. Land cover transformations, already a common feature in many parts, could well decimate biodiversity. Human disease outbreaks, which have already caused alarm and economic disruption, could remain a feature of the region. The challenges are immense; it is timely to reflect on transforming forces and our responses. In May 2006, an international symposium was held in Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia, to discuss these very issues. This publication features papers by leading researchers and policy makers on the following themes:'Drivers of Change; 'Values & Livelihoods; 'What Are the Changes and Their Impacts? The editors of this book all have wide experience in this area. Dr Natasha Stacey is an anthropologist with expertise in natural resource management in the Asia-Pacific region. Dr Guy Boggs has focused his GIS and modelling research on the use of technologies for understanding changes in spatial patterns of vegetation distribution, erosion and runoff response. Prof Bruce Campbell works in the tropics on four continents from humid rainforests to dry woodlands and is focussed on achieving better outcomes for conservation and development and improving the well-being of people through natural resource management and use. Prof Will Steffen has research interests which span a broad range within the field of Earth System science.

Table of contents

Setting the scene -- Gerritsen : A resilient future for Northern Australia? People, economics and policy issues -- Resosudarmo : Setting the scene : driving forces of change in Southeast Asia -- Drivers of change -- Steffen : Climate change in the tropics -- Srivastava : Securing India's energy future : what does the world have to worry about? -- Tay : Trade and environment in Southeast Asia -- Williams : Food production systems and policy development in Southeast Asia -- Values and livelihoods -- Armstong et al : Indigenous land and sea management and sustainable business development in Northern Australia -- Garnett : Enterprise development by indigenous communities using natural resources : where do the benefits go? -- Campbell et al : Do local people and the environment collide? Who drives environmental change? -- What are the changes and their impacts? -- Cunningham : Culture, livelihoods and conservatism -- Sodhi and Brook : Biodiversity crisis in Southeast Asia -- Wright et al : The future of Southeast Asian forests and their species -- Bunn : Northern Australia -- all that water ... going to waste? -- Bowman : Time's up for Australia's last frontier.




0502 - Environmental Science and Management; Southeast Asia; Northern Australia; Natural Resource Management; Politics & Society

Publisher name

Charles Darwin University Press (CDU Press)

Place of publication



vi, 119 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm.

File type



9780980665017; 980665019



Copyright owner

Charles Darwin University Press (CDU Press)



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attributes). Under current law a knowledge of the chemistry of a species, and isolation of an active compound is patentable but Indigenous knowledge of a property is not (Wynber 2004). Patent law, as practiced, is more likely to reduce benefits to Indigenous people than expand them without some protective provisions. While geographical indications, a facet of international trade law under which a place of origin is recognized, has potential for protection of products derived from limited range species (Guerra 2004), this potential has yet to be extended beyond places like Champagne. The concept of expansion of the concept to other products is also meeting strong opposition from, among others, Australia (Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Special Session 2005). There is thus a need for novel legislation to protect Indigenous interests in endemic biodiversity, particularly where there is Indigenous knowledge of the properties of that biodiversity that can be exploited for commercial gain. Globally the Northern Territory legislation is some of the best in terms of distributing benefits equitably. However I believe an amendment could give additional protection, regardless of tenure, for the small group of species whose commercialization is explicitly the result of drawing on unpublished Indigenous ecological knowledge. For these species it should be possible for Indigenous people to obtain the equivalent of a patent once the traditional knowledge has been published. Under existing intellectual property law commercialization of knowledge can be made as soon as information becomes publicly available. The Indigenous ecological knowledge patent would give Indigenous organizations in whom the patent would be vested a 20 year period to maximize benefit from the published knowledge on which commercialization is to be based. After that time the species would again be available for commercial development by other national interests, as is the case under the CBD. An amendment to legislation to protect Indigenous interests would give Indigenous people, perhaps with joint venture partners who could invest capital and commercialization expertise, the opportunity to get a head start in the industry. However the 20 years sunset clause would act as an incentive to initiate commercialization before outside competitors come into the market. The protection period would give the patent holders the opportunity to take out additional patents for processing and other benefits resulting from research and development they might undertake in relation to the species. This could extend the competitive advantage and would be an indication of productive investment in product development. As an incentive, government taxes, charges, royalties and license fees could be waived. The tax from business profit, should it be realized, would be deemed sufficient return to government from the commercialization process. Conclusion The free flow of genetic resources and knowledge concerning their use has underpinned the capacity of agriculture to feed the worlds population. Usually, however, the people who first identified many of the qualities of species that make them valuable to people gain little benefit from their knowledge. The CBD aims to create greater balance in benefits between rich and poor countries but says nothing about benefit sharing within countries. New Australian legislation, particularly that in the Northern Territory, goes some way towards remedying this imbalance but could go further. In particular I believe there should be a period after Indigenous knowledge about a species is first published when the Indigenous owners of that knowledge are given exclusive rights to commercialisation. References Anon. 2005. Australian Prawn Farming an Industry Development Plan 2005-07, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane. Australian Macadamia Society, 2006. Statistics. Viewed 18 April 2006 at http://macadamias.org/index.php?p=8 Brand, J. C., Cherikoff, V. and Lee, A. 1982. An Outstanding Food Source of Vitamin C, Lancet 2(8303): 873. Briggs, M., Funge-Smith, S., Subasinge, R. and Phillips, M. 2004. Introductions and Movement of Pennaeus vannamei and Penaeus stylirostris in Asia and the Pacific. Prepare for Impact!Values and Livelihoods 69

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