Revisiting crisis, change and institutions in the tropical forests: the multifunctional transition in Australia's Wet Tropics

Stork, Nigel E., Turton, Stephen M., Hill, Rosemary, and Lane, Marcus B. (2014) Revisiting crisis, change and institutions in the tropical forests: the multifunctional transition in Australia's Wet Tropics. Journal of Rural Studies, 36. pp. 99-107.

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Abstract

Environmental management has progressed from a tenure-based process, where each tenure is established for a single purpose, to one that considers multiple, often conflicting, uses across multiple tenures at the landscape scale. Here we consider the history of management, contestation and conservation of humid tropical rainforests of north-east Australia, Australia's Wet Tropics, and investigate the unfolding expression of new and diverse values attached to the region. We show that 1) for environmental managers, the task of understanding and giving expression to diverse human values attached to environmental resources is an on-going, complex and transdisciplinary task, ii) there is no 'moment' when a landscape, and the human values which make it legible, are 'secured', and iii) by locating dynamic social values as central to the project of environmental (or in this case, forest) management, we begin to understand managing for concurrent values as a central challenge for contemporary natural resource management. Three examples of multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches to forest management for concurrence are examined: 1) managing the diverse impacts of rainforest tourism, 2) managing competing demands on a rapidly changing coastal community, and 3) bridging the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous indicators of forest condition. Our analysis supports the current theory of nested adaptive policy cycles that change in response to exogenous factors, rather than the Multi-Level Perspective which attributes causality to endogenous forces. We suggest that 21st Century environmental problems such as climate change and biodiversity loss will lead to further major social transformations and the path generation to increasing complexity will continue.

Item ID: 37476
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-1392
Keywords: Wet Tropics, tropical rainforests, transdisciplinary research, values, Australia
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2015 07:31
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960906 Forest and Woodlands Land Management @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 50%
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