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Ecological restoration in the slipstream of agricultural policy in the old and new world

Abensperg-Traun, M., Wrbka, T., Bieringer, G., Hobbs, R., Deininger, F., Main, B.Y., Milasowszky, N., Sauberer, N. and Zulka, K.P. (2004) Ecological restoration in the slipstream of agricultural policy in the old and new world. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 103 (3). pp. 601-611.

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The restoration of ecosystems to stop biodiversity losses in agricultural landscapes has high priority in many regions of the world. It does not take place in a vacuum but is nested in a socio-historical and agro-political context. Austria and Western Australia (WA) are examples of old and newly impacted agricultural environments, and these are used to examine two contrasting agro-political and agro-economic frameworks within which ecological restoration currently operates. WA is characterised by ancient, nutrient-impoverished, and degraded agricultural landscapes that have been under cultivation for some 100 years and support a low density rural population. In Austria agriculture has been practised for some 7000 years and the European Union (EU) and its extensive funding system largely determine agro-political policies. The paper concludes that: (1) differences in agro-political priorities have resulted in diverging agro-economic systems where producers are heavily subsidised (EU) or largely unsubsidised (WA); (2) diverging agro-political priorities result from differences in terms of land degradation; demographic characteristics, and duration of respective agriculture; (3) WA failed to develop a financial strategy aimed at ecological restoration for biodiversity conservation while Austria benefits from a EU-driven subsidy system to maintain biodiversity conservation; (4) the Landcare movement plays a significant role in the restoration of biodiversity in WA, but is largely absent in the EU; (5) different environmental and social histories demand different approaches to improve the economic frameworks within which ecological restoration is conducted in each region.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Elsevier BV
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