The sugar industry’s impact on the landscape of the Australian wet tropical coast

Benn, Karen E., Elder, Jan, Jakku, Emma, and Thorburn, Peter J. (2010) The sugar industry’s impact on the landscape of the Australian wet tropical coast. Landscape Research, 35 (6). pp. 613-632.

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Abstract

The cultivation of sugarcane transformed the landscape and ecology of the Wet Tropics region of Australia over the last 140 years. In parallel, government policies shaped the unique structure and culture of the sugar industry throughout Queensland, directly and indirectly affecting sugarcane cultivation practices. Despite government environmental policies and strategies, the nutrient run-off from sugarcane cultivation continues to impact on the coastal landscape and health of the Great Barrier Reef. Sugarcane growers in the area and stakeholders from within and outside the industry were interviewed to determine why growers adopt many of the recommended practices that increase productivity, but not environmental practices such as reduced fertilizer application rates. This paper identifies how sugarcane growers are distinct from other farmers in Australia and suggests reasons why government environmental policy has failed. We conclude that a new policy approach based on Ecological Modernization Theory is recommended to achieve desired ecological outcomes and, at the same time, maintain productivity levels.

Item ID: 15093
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-9710
Keywords: sugar industry, Great Barrier Reef, landscape impact, government policy, ecological modernization theory
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2010 01:25
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960799 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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