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Landscapes and policy: Integrating science into governance design

Lefroy, T., Moore, S.A., Lockwood, M., Clement, S. and Mitchell, M. (2014) Landscapes and policy: Integrating science into governance design. In: Resilience 2014. Resilience and Development: Mobilizing for Transformation, 4 - 8 May, Montpellier, France.


In 2011 the Australian government funded a large multidisciplinary research centre to investigate how to move biodiversity management from the scale of species and communities to landscapes and regions. The brief specified an interdisciplinary and participatory approach that delivered findings useful for policy makers and managers and tested the utility of a resilience perspective. We identified improved governance as an essential element of this collaboration. Here we report on the science we used to better understand and potentially improve governance. Two large study regions provided the focus – the Australian Alps, centring on a collection of Australia's only high altitude national parks, and the Tasmanian Midlands, an extensively modified agricultural landscape. Governance structures and requirements are highly dependent on the context. To this end, we first undertook a social-ecological systems (SES) analysis for each case study region. This was initially developed by scientists in the research team and validated in workshops with stakeholders. The SES analysis was informed by climate science, ecology, economics, geography, sociology and political science. Within this context, the analytical focus narrowed in the second phase to the social sciences to develop a detailed understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of existing governance using interviews and good practice case studies from the literature. These sources informed a set of governance reform packages, later tested and validated through focus groups and further stakeholder workshops. In the third phase, all scientists contributed again to developing scenarios to explore a range of futures for the two regions. In the final stage, responsibility shifted back to the social sciences to identify reforms most likely to lead to better biodiversity outcomes. We conclude that a broad sweep of disciplines is essential for designing governance arrangements for managing biodiversity at landscape scale. The changing roles played by the various disciplines, as described here, provides a useful example of how a broad range of perspectives can contribute to governance design in complex systems.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
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