Publication Details

Sangha, K. K., Butler, J., Delisle, A. and Stanley, O. (2011). Identifying links between ecosystem services and Aboriginal well-being and livelihoods in north Australia: applying the millennium ecosystem assessment framework. Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering, 5 (7), 931-946.


The livelihoods and well-being of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities in remote and rural northern Australia are dependent upon the ecosystem services provided by tropical ecosystems. The well-being of all Australian citizens is measured by the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) using socio-economic indicators. In this study we investigated the importance of non-market benefits derived from ecosystem services for Aboriginal well-being. Through a case study with the Mullunburra-Yidinji people in the Wet Tropics, Queensland, we applied the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) framework to identify the links between ecosystem services and the MA’s six constituents of human well-being. The study demonstrated that cultural and provisioning services were key determinants of community well-being, and these are not currently measured by the ABS. We adapt the MA framework to include the ABS indicators and explore the potential strengths and weaknesses of the approach for measuring the well-being of contemporary remote and rural Aboriginal communities.