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Systemic forest health: the changing role of public participation in Western Australian forest policy and management

Brueckner, M. (2005) Systemic forest health: the changing role of public participation in Western Australian forest policy and management. In: Calver, M.C., Bigler-Cole, H., Bolton, G., Dargavel, J., Gaynor, A., Horwitz, P., Mills, J. and Wardell-Johnson, G. (eds) (2005) A forest conscienceness: Proceedings of the 6th National Conference of the Australian Forest History Society., 12 - 17 September, 2004, Augusta, Western Australia.

Abstract

Notions of holism and systemic health have broadened our understanding of the treatment and prevention of disease. Integral to these concepts is a whole-system perspective, which enables the holistic treatment of health and its dimensions. A perspective such as this demands that the focus be directed at the health of an entire system and that of its constituent parts; their health becomes a prerequisite for the health of the whole (systemic health). In the context of ecosystem health, social and political systems can be understood as subsystems of a wider natural system and their 'health' or 'well-being' as contributing to the health of this broader system in which they are embedded.

In Australia, the relationships between socio-political systems and ecosystems have undergone considerable changes over the last 50 years. Growing levels of environmental awareness, for instance, have led to an increase in public concern about, and scrutiny of, the governance and management of the environment and to a growth in the demand for public participation in environmental policy-making.

Focusing on the social and political dimensions of forestry in Western Australia, this paper examines the notion of systemic forest health against the background of changing public perceptions of forests and their management as well as growing demands by the public for its engagement in political decision-making processes affecting forest health. It is argued that public participation is a vital component of forest health and that meaningful public input is therefore required in political processes working towards the systemic health of ecosystems.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Publisher: Millpress Science Publishers
Copyright: © 2005 Millpress
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/36378
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