“Biodiversity is a term used to describe the enormous variety of life on Earth. It can be used more specifically to refer to all of the species in one region or ecosystem. Biodiversity refers to every living thing, including plants, bacteria, animals, and humans.” – National Geographic
This definition parallels Aboriginal people’s definition of Country. Aboriginal people see Country as a living thing, comprised of the land, the animals, and the people. Taking care of all these elements is a significant priority for Aboriginal people; the land is the ultimate provider needing the utmost care so that we may reap the benefits.
Aboriginal and traditional Western approaches to biodiversity do share some similarities.
Burning off the land in a similar way with prescribed burning to get the land back to an appropriate level of flora. Aboriginal people living on or close to their Country will make observations of species and ecological interactions over a lifetime and then pass them down across generations, meaning changes in all facets of biodiversity are noted and tracked.
In the current day, initiatives such as Indigenous Protected Areas and Indigenous Ranger Programs such as our very own Midwest Aboriginal Ranger Program are engaging Indigenous people in biodiversity management. Such collaboration is needed to improve the share knowledge around maintaining the health of landscapes and biodiversity.