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Why investigate communities and livelihoods with RIEL?

  • Understand historical evolution and patterns of habitation in north Australia and SE Asia

  • Discover how to help inform successful community-based plans for healthy country and local enterprises

  • Understand the influence of society, culture, economics and the natural environment in community decision-making

Communities and livelihoods

Group of people at beach

Though collaboration and capacity building, RIEL strives to make a real-world impact and benefit the environment and communities with whom we engage.

This work includes:

  • Working with Indigenous communities to strengthen land and sea management outcomes;
  • Engaging with Indigenous people and local communities to contribute to biodiversity conservation;
  • Understanding how Indigenous communities will be affected by climate change;
  • Researching the benefits that threatened species conservation can deliver to people globally;
  • Supporting natural resource-based enterprises in aquaculture, fisheries and plant production in Indigenous communities;
  • Rehabilitation of blue carbon habitats and livelihoods.
  • Contributing to the sustainability of ecosystem services for the benefit of Indigenous communities and livelihoods in Australia and the Asia-Pacific.
  • Implementing a world-first program for a savanna burning carbon industry in northern Australia;
  • Developing digital technologies to improve livelihoods of local communities in the Asia-Pacific.

Communities and livelihoods flyer (PDF, 849.86 KB)

Communities, Livelihoods and Natural Resources research group

Applied Plant Ecology Group

People and projects snapshot

  • timor-leste sardine fisheries

    Timor-Leste’s sardine fisheries

    Think of sardines and most people think of those that come tightly packed in a tin. Our PhD candidate Kim Hunnam is working on changing that perspective. Read Kim’s award-winning blog about her research investigating Timor-Leste’s sardine fisheries and the business of getting sardines from the ocean to the dinner plate.

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  • Native rice (RIEL image only)

    Nurturing native food products

    RIEL researchers Sean Bellairs and Penny Wurm are supporting the development of a northern Australia wild food sector. This work includes two major projects - a Future Food Systems CRC collaboration focuses on Indigenous led, packaged and culturally identified, high value native food products, and a CRC for Developing Northern Australia collaboration is helping to lay the foundation for northern Australia rice exports, with a goal to produce over one million tonnes of specialty rice annually.

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  • group of people

    Supporting communities in Cameroon

    RIEL researcher Rohan Fisher is working with international partners to assist Baka (Pygmy) communities in southeast Cameroon. These communities are learning how to better display and communicate their spatial data to inform discussions with different stakeholders to support Baka traditional hunting rights. Traditional hunting underpins Baka livelihoods, culture and wellbeing.

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Publications snapshot

  • Supporting indigenous fisheries

    Supporting Indigenous fisheries

    The tenure rights of Indigenous people who draw their livelihood from small-scale fishing are often unrecognised with significant repercussions. This research explores the political and legal foundation of these fisheries, drawing from international and domestic law, and learning from situations in four countries - Norway, Australia, South Africa and Nicaragua.

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  • RIEL illustration

    Advancing in food security

    As in other post-conflict contexts, Timor-Leste’s agrarian society is struggling to achieve food security and reduce undernutrition, while climate change poses further challenges to food production. We propose approaches including making agriculture more nutrition- and gender-sensitive, as well as promoting biodiversity and climate-smart practices to enable sustainable and healthy rural livelihoods. Improving agriculture productivity is also critical to support the availability of sufficient and nutritious foods.

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  • Stylised image of globe

    Enhancing coastal livelihoods

    An evaluation of recent initiatives on gender, women and sustainable livelihoods in small-scale fisheries in Indonesia suggests we need to better understand the role of gender in reducing poverty and increasing well-being. Lessons from comparable agricultural settings suggest that this may be facilitated by locally situated gender social relations analysis, integration of gender throughout livelihood improvement project cycles, gendered capacity building activities and learning from the gendered outcomes of project activities.

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