Growing concern leads to PhD thesis 


The growth of the Indigenous arts industry in Australia over the past few decades has seen an increase in the number of artists producing woodcarvings from native timber species.

Jennifer Clare Koenig has examined woodcarving production in the Maningrida region as a part her PhD thesis titled ‘Too many trees!’: Indigenous woodcarving and harvest sustainability in central Arnhem Land.

She will be awarded a Doctor of Philosophy during tonight’s (Friday October 12) Charles Darwin University’s graduation ceremony at the Darwin Entertainment Centre.

Jennifer said that woodcarving production in the Maningrida region had grown rapidly over the past two decades and constituted an important component of people’s livelihoods.

“I applied integrative methodology from the social and biological sciences to examine the sociocultural, economic and ecological determinants of sustainability in relation to harvesting timber for woodcarving in the Maningrida region of central Arnhem Land,” she said.

“Two tree species are predominantly used for carving across all language groups in the region, and although structured population models show one species is more resilient to increasing harvest intensity, current harvest regimes for both species are sustainable.

“This study has reduced the uncertainty surrounding the sustainability of harvesting these species, helping to ensure the continuation of this important livelihood option for Indigenous Australians.”