Agricultural biodiversity and neoliberal regimes of agri-environmental governance in Australia

Lockie, Stewart (2009) Agricultural biodiversity and neoliberal regimes of agri-environmental governance in Australia. Current Sociology, 57 (3). pp. 407-426.

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International agreements highlight the centrality of agricultural biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides to human well-being, but provide little guidance on how to integrate agrobiodiversity within workable national regimes of governance. Complicating this picture further, it is not species richness per se that underwrites the resilience and productivity of agroecosystems but the functional relationships between organisms and ecosystem components at a variety of scales. Like many others, Australia's national strategy for biodiversity conservation acknowledges the importance of functional biodiversity but, in reality, focuses most attention on the protection of 'wild' biodiversity from unsympathetic land use. In constructing a workable regime of governance for agricultural biodiversity, Australian governments have been particularly concerned to maintain and extend the neoliberal project of market rule. Biodiversity loss is defined as an outcome of market failure best addressed through various types of market reform. However, new tensions have been created between the totalizing logic of market rule and the spatio-temporal variability and specificity of biodiversity management. Despite the positive emphasis of Australian agri-environmental policy on planning and capacity building, declining terms of trade for agricultural produce are likely to make it very difficult for the majority of landholders to actively manage biological resources for which there are no direct and immediate productivity benefits.

Item ID: 30810
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1461-7064
Keywords: agricultural biodiversity; functional biodiversity; governance
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC (DP0664599)
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2014 05:59
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160801 Applied Sociology, Program Evaluation and Social Impact Assessment @ 40%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160802 Environmental Sociology @ 30%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160804 Rural Sociology @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960504 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960601 Economic Incentives for Environmental Protection @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960704 Land Stewardship @ 40%
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