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The struggle for recognition of lay and local knowledge in the battle against salinity in Western Australia

Paulin, S. (2004) The struggle for recognition of lay and local knowledge in the battle against salinity in Western Australia. In: Technologies, Publics and Power: The Terrain of the 6th Framework in New Zealand and Beyond, 1-5 Feb. 2004, Akaroa, New Zealand

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The issue of large scale land degradation in the agricultural areas of Australia has been taxing scientists, farmers and government agencies for the past 100 years. In Western Australia, friction was rife between scientific findings about the suitability of particular areas for agriculture and the desire of succeeding state governments to open up the landscape to development and consequent reaping of export dollars from the products of that development. As a result, large areas of land in the Wheatbelt were cleared of native vegetation and, after only a short period of time, the symptoms of farming marginal land became evident in the form of erosion, non-soaking soils, waterlogging and salinity.

This paper seeks to address the relationships between science, governance and the lay communities they serve. It proposes that science and government should become more cognisant of ‘scientific’ activities carried out by lay community members and that, in working together, they may find effective methods of alleviating the occurrence of dryland salinity.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy
Publisher: National Centre for Research on Europe
Conference Website:
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