Abstract: There is a strong contemporary research and policy focus on climate change risk to communities, places and systems. While the need to understand how climate change will impact on society is valid, the challenge for many vulnerable communities, especially some of the most marginalised, such as remote indigenous communities of north-west South Australia, need to be couched in the context of both immediate risks to livelihoods and long-term challenges of sustainable development. An integrated review of climate change vulnerability for the Alinytjara Wilurara Natural Resources Management region, with a focus on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands, suggests that targeted analysis of climate change impacts and adaptation options can overlook broader needs both for people and the environment. Climate change will add to a range of complex challenges for indigenous communities, especially in relation to hazards, such as fire and floods, and local environmental management issues, especially in association with invasive species. To respond to future socio-ecological risk, some targeted responses will need to focus on climate change impacts, but there also needs to be a better understanding of what risk is already apparent within socio-ecosystems and how climate interacts with such systems. Other environmental, social and economic risks may need to be prioritised, or at least strongly integrated into climate change vulnerability assessments. As the capacity to learn how to adapt to risk is developed, the value attributed to traditional ecological knowledge and local indigenous natural resource management must increase, both to provide opportunities for strong local engagement with the adaptation response and to provide broader social development opportunities.