Please click the following links to browse connected references:
Prepared by Andrew Campbell.
“The evidence of warming of the Earth’s climate system is unequivocal. It is evident from increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, melting of snow and ice, and rising sea levels.
Adaptation to climate change is no longer a question of “if” but rather of “how”, “where” and “how fast”.
For the regions of Australia in which most people live and most food and fibre is produced — i.e. the eastern seaboard and southern and south-western Australia — the greenhouse effect is leading generally to a hotter, drier climate, marked by more extreme weather events, but less rainfall and even less runoff overall. Climate change is real and long lasting and will have major implications for the way that natural resources are managed at the regional level. From a water perspective alone, the implications of climate change are profound. Changes in water availability will in turn have, for example, major implications for vegetation management...”
Prepared by Paul Dalby and Partick O'Connor
“In Fusion Consulting is undertaking the project: NRM, Climate Change Adaptation and Impact
Research Capacity Mapping. This is the final report from the project and documents:
- the results of a literature review to identify capabilities required for climate change research.(Section 3 & 4);
- research capabilities required for research relevant to natural resources management based on priorities identified in the State NRM Plan (Section 8);
- documents research capability in South Australia for research relevant to both climate change (Section 5) and natural resources management (Section 8), and in more detail identifies the strengths of research capabilities in climate change (Section 5);
- maps research strengths in climate change nationally (Section 6) and compares research capabilities in climate change between South Australian institutions and research institutions nationally (Section 7);
- recommendations on where South Australia has research strengths in climate change based on regional, state and national research priorities and the relative strengths of
- research capabilities in South Australia (Section 7).
A database of research capability has been established online, linked to the South Australian
NRM Boards joint research publications database, accessible centrally through the CNRM
website. (Section 8)...”
Prepared by Brian Walker, Nick Abel, John Anderies and Paul Ryan
“We present a resilience-based approach for assessing sustainability in a sub-catchment of the Murray-Darling Basin in southeast Australia. We define the regional system and identify the main issues, drivers, and potential shocks, then assess both specified and general resilience. The current state of the system is a consequence of changes in resource use. We identify ten known or possible biophysical, economic, and social thresholds operating at different scales, with possible knock-on effects between them.
Crossing those thresholds may result in irreversible changes in goods and services generated by the region.
Changes in resilience, in general, reflect a pattern of past losses with some signs of recent improvements.
Interventions in the system for managing resilience are constrained by current governance, and attention needs to be paid to the roles and capacities of the various institutions. An overview of the current state of the system and likely future trends suggests that transformational change in the region be seriously considered...”
By Dr Neil Byron
This opinion piece by Dr Neil Byron, member of the Wentworth Group highlights the changing political position of natural resource management (NRM) in Australia.
There is a brief refresher on the origins of catchment and natural resource management in the various States and some reflections on the learning from NHT and NAP - Federally funded programs. Dr Byron then highlights the change that has been brought by the rebadged and re-shaped “Caring for our Country” program. The essential point is that the good work that has been done in developing regional NRM organisations in the States is at grave risk of floundering and stagnating because of a very apparent lack of direction and support from both Federal and State Governments. The urgency that triggered the Landcare movement, the response to salinity and water quality and more recently the effects of prolonged drought have drifted away – as has the support of governments. Byron argues that part of the problem lies in the lack of “systematic metrics” that can clearly show that the efforts to modify adverse environmental effects have actually worked. The other major influence has been the lack of recognition and inclusion of the many local and regional efforts to improve our land stewardship. Regional NRM, even in its many forms is a good innovation – it will be a great pity if Australia does not capitalise on this opportunity to improve our natural resource maintenance through empowering regional communities.
DISCUSSION PAPER: AN INDUSTRY PLAN FOR THE VICTORIAN ENVIRONMENT: University of New England
In the 2008 Green Paper, Land and Biodiversity at a time of climate change,
the Victorian Government outlined the challenges faced in conserving and restoring the state’s landscapes and biodiversity. The Paper contained a detailed review of landscape and biodiversity values across Victorian regions. It painted a picture of historical losses and the potential for the harmful trajectory to continue. The Minister, in his introduction, highlighted that the community has to find a way to reverse the ongoing decline in the ecological and productive values of the landscape. Implicit in the Green Paper is the acknowledgement that substantial resources from all sectors of the community will be required to implement the strategies proposed. The Green Paper highlights that to date this investment has been insufficient to prevent the documented problems. This begs the question considered in this discussion paper: what institutional arrangements might achieve far greater investment (delivered more effectively) than has been possible to date?
This discussion paper focuses on how to fund sustainable landscape and conservation programs, recognising that the lack of funding is a significant cause of insufficient action. Funding issues will probably become worse unless there are effective investment innovations. Whilst focusing on funding does not deal with the total problem by reducing the pressure caused by a dearth in funds, other improvements ought to become feasible.
Earth System Science for Global Sustainability: Grand Challenges by Reid et al. 2010. Science 330: 916 - 917.
This is an opinion piece in the Policy Forum section of Science under Environment and Development section.
The authors highlight the enormity of the challenges facing the planet and identify five areas that need urgent attention.
The piece that particularly caught my attention was " There is no simple mechanism to fund "global" research. And because research at the intersection of Earth system science and sustainable development has not attracted great attention from either natural or social scientists, it will take time to build this research community. The disciplinary-dominated structure of academia runs counter to the need to address interdisciplinary aspects of these grand challenges. "
This is where we sit as we try to draw interest in Landscape Science.
For further information, please read the report here.
Transforming U.S. Agriculture by Reganold et al. 2011. Science 332:670-671
A paper by the Committee on Twenty-First Century System Agriculture of the US National Research Council draws on a 2010 report on Sustainable Agricultural Systems.
The authors argue that the slow expansion of more renewable and innovative farming systems in the US “is as much a policy and market problem as a science and technology problem.” They single out the US Farm Bill as a major policy driver that “has a major influence on what, where and how food in produced” and also flows onto narrowly focussed agricultural science research that “fit into existing production systems”. They suggest that “what is needed is reallocation of public funds to support transdisciplinary systems research”. Sounds familiar to our concerns and the need for landscape futures analysis to help identify the options and compromises we will need to transform landscape use from exploitive to renewable.
For further information, please read the report here.
Radically Rethinking Agriculture for the 21st Century N. V. Fedoroff, et al. Science 327, 833 (2010)
"Population growth, arable land and fresh water limits, and climate change have profound implications for the ability of agriculture to meet this century's demands for food, feed, fiber, and fuel while reducing the environmental impact of their production.
Success depends on the acceptance and use of contemporary molecular techniques, as well as the increasing development of farming systems that use saline water and integrate nutrient flows."
For further information, please read the paper here.
Connected Reference Books
Farming Action Catchment Reaction
The effect of dryland farming on the natural environment
Editors: John William, Rosemary A. Hook, Hester L. Gascoigne
“Farming Action – Catchment Reaction provides a comprehensive technical overview of the relationships between dryland farming systems and catchment land and water quality in Australia and integrates it in a whole system framework. The book discusses social aspects of developing and implementing research, indicators of catchment health, the processes that determine the effect of farming action on catchment health and the use of models.
The various chapters:
· examine problems from the perspectives of the farmers, consultants and scientists;
· provide a comprehensive overview of modelling theory;
· provide indicators enabling both professionals and communities to measure the effect of dryland farming;
· bring together international expertise; and
· apply to all countries using dryland farming techniques.
This book is a valuable resource for rural community groups and technical teams supporting them; organisations and individuals involved in policy and management aspects of catchment care; those involved in agricultural or environmental courses; as well as the scientific community.”
Complexity theory for a sustainable future
Editors: Jon Norberg and Graeme S. Cumming
“The study of complex systems has seen a flowering in the last several decades, and its historical development is well documented in this book. Jon Norberg and Graeme Cumming have provided the first complete effort to build a bridge between the large body of theory that has emerged from places like the Santa Fe Institute and the application of that theory to achieving a sustainable future. The editors are to be commended for their seamless integration of resilience theory, sustainability concepts, and applications to specific case studies. The book’s distinguished set of authors have provided state-of-art treatments of the translation and application of concepts from the theory of complex adaptive systems to coupled social-ecological systems, from the diversity and flows in ecological communities to the emergence of norms in human societies. This book is a unique contribution to the literature and will serve as a pillar in the development of a new science of sustainability.”
Biodiversity: Integrating Conservation and Production
Case studies from Australian farms, forests and fisheries
Editors: Ted Lefroy, Kay Bailey, Greg Unwin, Tony Norton
“Australia’s experience in community-based environmental repair is unique in the world, with no shortage of analysis by bureaucrats, academics and environmentalists. This collection of 17 case studies gives a view from ground level. It includes heroic accounts of families who changed their way of farming and their relationship to the land so significantly that they found they could stop hand-feeding stock during a drought and seethe bush coming back. It describes the experience with ‘bush tenders’, which were oversubscribed, as farmers competed with each other for stewardship payments to manage their grazing lands for endangered ground-nesting birds as well as beef and wool. And it tells of a group of wheat growers who plant patches of grassland for beneficial insects that save then tens of thousands of dollars a year in pesticide bills.”
Seeking sustainability in an age of complexity
“Seeking Sustainability in an Age of Complexity explains why sustainability is hard and why ‘collapse’ can occur. In the last 20 years the theory of complexity has been developed – complex systems science (CSS) speaks to natural systems and particularly to ecological, social and economic systems and their interaction. Due to growing concern over the huge changes occurring in the global environment, such as climate change, deforestation, habitat fragmentation and loss of biodiversity Graham Harris sets out what has been learned in an attempt to understand the implications of these changes and suggests ways to move forward. This book discusses a number of emerging tools for the management of ‘unruly’ complexity that facilitate stronger regional dialogues about knowledge and values, that will be of interest to ecologists, sociologists, economists, natural resource managers and scientists in State and local governments and those involved in water and landscape management.”