Sue Jackson

Sue Jackson

Sue Jackson, Australia

Sue Jackson is a geographer with over 20 years’ experience researching the social dimensions of NRM, particularly community-based conservation initiatives and institutions. She has research interests in systems of resource governance, including customary Indigenous resource rights, and Indigenous capacity building for improved participation in NRM and planning, as well as the social and cultural values associated with water. She has conducted research with communities throughout many regions of Australia. Sue is co-convenor of a new working group of the Sustainable Water Future Program, an initiative of FutureEarth. Titled Rivers, flows and people: Connecting ecosystems with human communities, cultures, and livelihoods, this group will address the pressing need of ensuring that all the world’s rivers have in place environmental flows that sustain ecosystems and human livelihoods and wellbeing. It will synthesize experience and knowledge, share lessons and facilitate project-based research to advance transdisciplinary approaches in this new field of socio-ecological science.

Presentation Title: Indigenous seasonal calendars as a source of knowledge for determining sustainable flow regimes

In many parts of the world, knowledge exchange between scientists and Indigenous communities has resulted in an improved understanding of phenology, which is the study of the seasonal timing of life cycle events of organisms. Indigenous phenological knowledge is used to indicate the timing of plant and animal resource availability and abundance, to assess and predict changes in weather and the seasons, and to mark points in peoples’ seasonal resource management activities. In this paper, we examine seasonal calendars constructed for river systems in north Australia, East Africa and the Andean Amazon of South America in the context of water resource assessment and planning. We evaluate the potential for this knowledge to be applied to the determination of flow regimes that meet both the requirements of aquatic ecosystems and the human communities reliant on healthy, ecohydrologically functional systems. Treating these calendars as socioeco-hydrological models, we explore what they can tell us about ecologically and socially relevant flow events. We also discuss the prospects for these models to serve as popular and engaging boundary objects that enable cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary exchange and integration.

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