Australia's Indigenous forest estate (2018)

​​​​​​​​​​​​Publication date: 16 February 2019

Australia’s Indigenous forest estate (2018) is a continental spatial dataset of forest and non-forest land over which Indigenous peoples and ​communities have ownership, management, or rights of use, assembled for Australia's State of the Forests Report 2018. It was developed from multiple data sources, including national, state and territory datasets related to land in which there is an Indigenous interest. The Indigenous land dataset is then combined with forest cover information from the Forests of Australia (2018) dataset.​

The dataset was compiled by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) for the National Forest Inventory ​(NFI), a collaborative partnership between the Australian and state and territory governments. The role of the NFI is to collate, integrate and communicate information on Australia's forests. The NFI applies a national classification to state and territory data to allow seamless integration of these datasets. Multiple independent sources of external data are used to fill data gaps and improve the quality of the final dataset.​

The NFI classifies Indigenous land into four categories:

  • ​Indigenous owned and managed: freehold land that is both owned and managed by Indigenous communities
  • Indigenous managed: land that is managed, but not owned, by Indigenous communities; and lands that are owned by Indigenous people but have formal shared management agreement with Australian and state and territory government agencies
  • Indigenous co-managed: land that is owned and managed by other parties, but has a formal, legally binding agreement in place that includes input from Indigenous people in the process of developing and implementing a management plan
  • Other Special rights: land subject to native title determination, registered Indigenous land use agreement, and legislated special cultural use provision.​

The Australia’s Indigenous forest estate (2018) dataset is produced to fulfil requirements of Australia's National Forest Policy Statement and the Regional Forests Agreement Act 2002 (Cwth), and is used by the Australian ​Government for domestic and international reporting.​​


Australia's Indigenous forest estate (2018) – Esri grid (raster), layer file and metadata documents​ (zipped) [65 MB]​​​

Attributes and lookup tables – PDF [585 KB]

Metadata – PDF [585 M​B​]​


Australia's Indigenous forest estate (2018) – graphic only – PNG: [0.8 MB] – PDF:[2.2 MB]​

Interactive map viewer

View an interactive ArcGIS Online map viewer version of this dataset here.


Superseded​ datasets are available here.


Further reading​​​​

Dillon R, Jeyasingham J, Eades S and Read S (2015​). Development of the Australia's Indigenous forest estate (2013) dataset. ABARES Research report 15.6, Canberra.​​​ ​​​​​​​

Last reviewed: 16 October 2020