Politicians and geomorphological blunders. Some examples relating to rivers and coasts from Queensland, Australia

Nott, Jonathan (2010) Politicians and geomorphological blunders. Some examples relating to rivers and coasts from Queensland, Australia. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 31 (3). pp. 283-298.

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Abstract

Geomorphologists have an important role to not just understand and interpret the nature of processes operating within the physical landscape, but also to communicate this information to those who can use it to benefit society. Policy makers and legislators often develop documents relating to the management and use of landforms and landscapes that contain little or no input from geomorphologists, which can and do have undesirable consequences for governments, communities and the natural environment. Examples relating to rivers and coasts from Queensland, Australia highlight inadequacies in policies and legislation because of a lack of input from geomorphologists. In one instance the definition of a stream channel has been reinterpreted by the legal system because of a poorly developed definition within the legislation. The outcome is a legal definition of a stream channel based on the Q3 month flow (3-month average recurrence interval discharge or flow). In another instance, people and property are being placed at risk from coastal erosion and impact from tropical cyclone generated marine inundations (waves and surge) because a lack of understanding of geomorphic processes operating along the coast has been inscribed into policies and legislation. These are examples from one region but similar situations will exist elsewhere globally. Both politicians and geomorphologists have a role to communicate better with each other about these matters. Geomorphologists in particular need to be more proactive in advising politicians on issues in which they have expertise.

Item ID: 15409
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1467-9493
Keywords: geomorphology, politicians, legislation, policies
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2011 05:04
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040601 Geomorphology and Regolith and Landscape Evolution @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 100%
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