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Aboriginal Australians

refers to Aboriginal people whose ancestors were Indigenous to the Australian continent before British colonisation of the continent in 1788


a collective term that refers to all life forms (living things) in a region

Biodiversity (Biological diversity)

the range of life forms in an area — terrestrial diversity relates to the variety of life forms on the land whereas marine biodiversity relates to the sea; life forms include plants, animals, microbes and fungi

Biocultural Diversity

linked diversity of interacting biological and cultural values of a region


looking after; protection of current condition of something (e.g. plant conservation or biological conservation)

Conservation biology

the scientific study of the Earth’s biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, their habitats and ecosystems from excessive decline


Aboriginal term for the holistic view of the environment including land, sea, water, air, species, spirits and people

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the scientific study of the relationships between people and plants


a subfield of ethnobotany that deals with the study of traditional medicines, especially where knowledge and practices have been orally transmitted


the scientific study of the way plants and animals are treated or used by different human cultures





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Indigenous Languages

languages spoken by Aboriginal people — over 250 languages were spoken in Australia prior to European settlement


familial connections between Country (people, spirits, land, sea, sky, water, other species etc.)


(oral lore or traditional lore) relates to cultural lore and traditions

Native title

a common law doctrine declaring the rights of Indigenous peoples’ to customary land and sea ownership

Natural Environment

the physical (e.g. rocks and soil) and biological (e.g. plants and animals) things and connections making up Country

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Sacred sites

areas or places of special cultural significance to Aboriginal Australians; most are related to the Dreaming

Sites of significance

place (including its physical and biological parts) that is of significance to Aboriginal tradition


also called Dreaming Tracks that are paths across the land or sometimes the sky which mark the route followed by localised creator beings or spirits during The Dreaming — the paths of the songlines are recorded in traditional songs, stories, dance and paintings

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The Dreaming

spiritual beliefs of Aboriginal Australians which relate to the creation of Country, humans and spirits


a tradition is a belief or behaviour passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past

Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)

term referring to Aboriginal, Indigenous or other forms of traditional knowledge regarding local and environmental resources. It is a cumulative body of knowledge, practise, and belief evolving by adaptive processes and handed down through generations by cultural transmission.  It concerns the relationship between all living things, including human with one another and with the environment.

Traditional Lore

is connected to ‘The Dreaming’ and provides rules on how to interact with the land, kinship and community. Aboriginal children learn the lore from childhood, by observing customs, ceremonies and song lines.

Traditional Owners

people who have cultural and historic custodial ownership of certain land; someone who belongs to place

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