Making time for space: the critical role of spatial planning in adapting natural resource management to climate change

Adams, V.M., Álvarez-Romero, J.G., Capon, S.J., Crowley, G.M., Dale, A.P., Kennard, M.J., Douglas, M.M., and Pressey, R.L. (2017) Making time for space: the critical role of spatial planning in adapting natural resource management to climate change. Environmental Science & Policy, 74. pp. 57-67.

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Abstract

Climate change is driving shifts in social-ecological systems globally. In response, humans must adapt to altered climatic and environmental conditions. While climate change adaptation is a pressing issue in many sectors and regions, the adaptation of environmental management strategies is particularly urgent because of the severity and extent of risks associated with projected impacts. Robust adaptation of environmental management requires effective spatial and temporal implementation of interventions, with explicit consideration of trade-offs between different socio-economic and environmental objectives. We investigate the critical interface between regional governance systems and spatial planning for climate adaptation by exploring the case of Australia’s Natural Resource Management (NRM) bodies. Australia’s NRM bodies provide an ideal case study for two reasons. First, Australia faces significant threats from current and future climate changes. Second, Australian NRM bodies have recently undertaken a major program of spatial planning and research to explicitly address the need for climate adaptation. We explore the interface between regional governance systems and spatial planning by: 1) reviewing the historical development of institutional arrangements in relation to spatial planning by Australia’s regional NRM bodies; 2) documenting current planning processes with regard to climate adaptation and more generally; and 3) identifying strengths and weaknesses of the existing governance system at various scales with respect to its ability to foster effective spatial planning. We find that the institutional and resource capacity of the Australian regional NRM bodies is currently being eroded and that the national governance system is broadly failing to deliver on the intended outcomes of climate-ready NRM plans. We make recommendations for governance reform and institutional adaptation to improve spatial planning for climate adaptation in Australia and discuss the broader implications of our findings.

Item ID: 49366
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-6416
Keywords: conservation planning; natural resource management; adaptive governance; climate change
Funders: Natural Resource Management Planning for Climate Change Fund (NRM Fund), Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (ARC CECRS)
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2017 05:21
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
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