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Organising for sustainable natural resource management: representation, leadership and partnerships at four spatial scales

Rockloff, Susan Fay (2003) Organising for sustainable natural resource management: representation, leadership and partnerships at four spatial scales. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Sustainability of natural resources is currently a concern worldwide. The ecological and economic aspects of sustainability have received substantial research attention, but the social aspects of sustainability are less well understood. Participation by affected communities in natural resource management decisions is pivotal to social sustainability. As such, this study examined ten case studies of participation and decision-making by natural resource management groups involved in agriculture in the south-west of Australia. Groups at four spatial scales were studied, including the State, regional, land conservation district (Shire) and subcatchment.

Drawing on these ten case studies, this study analysed participation in these groups from the perspectives of representation, leadership and partnership. Crucial elements of this analysis included identifying the desirable attributes of participation in terms of achieving social sustainability, and then comparing current practice against these ideals.

The study concludes with comments about the efficacy at each spatial scale of current approaches to participation in terms of social sustainability. Central conclusions from this study follow. Some scales are performing better than others in terms of meeting the expectations expressed through the desirable criteria. The State scale is performing well, in terms of its mandate, with its lower expectations than those ascribed to regional and subcatchment scales clearly being met. On the other hand, the expectations associated with the community- and government-led regional groups and subcatchment groups are enormous.

The only place where there was any major difference between the three was in representation: it was barely considered by respondents from the subcatchment groups, while for the regional groups less of the expectations were met by the community-led than government-led groups. Otherwise they were very similar. The land conservation districts, caught between the regions and subcatchments, seem to be faring the poorest.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Supervisor(s): Moore, Susan
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