Australian Landscape Science and its role in NRM.

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Presented by Wayne Meyer as part of the 2009 Place and Purpose Symposium run by the Landscape Science Cluster

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Australian Landscape Science and its role in NRM.

  1. 1. Australian Landscape Science and its role in NRM. Wayne Meyer
  2. 2. Applying Landscape Science to Natural Resource Management Wayne Meyer, Brett Bryan, Andrew Fisher, Neville Crossman and Megan Lewis Landscape science and NRM 30 September 2009 Copyright © 2008 The University of Adelaide Slide Number 1 Wayne S Meyer
  3. 3. Landscape science – integrating environmental, ecological, economic and social perspectives Landscape science and NRM 30 September 2009 Copyright © 2009 The University of Adelaide 2
  4. 4. Why the need for landscape science in NRM? • Apart from some great local improvements, evidence that condition of soil, water, native biota and atmosphere is improving is hard to find. • Natural resource condition is being eroded by: • grazing production systems • agricultural production systems • urban and industrial growth • Inherently, we agree that this is not viable in the long term So the question is: "what are the combinations of plans, incentives and actions that will encourage changed attitude and practice to stop exploitation and maintain renewable land use systems?” Landscape science and NRM 30 September 2009 Copyright © 2008 The University of Adelaide Slide Number 3 Wayne S Meyer
  5. 5. Why the need for landscape science in NRM? • Integration requires good process • Planning without a shared vision is deficient • Planning without people and resources to implement will fail • Implementation without clear governance and management will squander resources • Action without evaluation is lost learning • To improve, many pieces need to come together • Successful NRM needs: • system understanding • people who do things differently • supportive institutional arrangements i.e. landscape science Landscape science and NRM 30 September 2009 Copyright © 2008 The University of Adelaide Slide Number 4 Wayne S Meyer
  6. 6. Landscape science: the science of social-ecological systems • People • Preferences • Politics • Institutions • Crops • Geology • Agronomy • Climate • Topography • Animals • Hydrology • $$$$’s • Soils Landscape science and NRM • Conservation • Biota areas 29 May 2008 Copyright © 2008 The University of Adelaide Slide Number 5 Wayne S Meyer
  7. 7. Are we currently missing the mark with maintaining natural resource condition? • Soil • Erosion – significant wind and water, loss of nutrients • Carbon – low and declining • Nutrients – some in balance, K and Mg being mined • Condition – salinity, acidity increasing, physical structure variable • Water • Surface – 30% rivers and wetlands significantly degraded • Groundwater – many beyond sustainable yield • Native vegetation and biodiversity • 32% cleared • ~ half agricultural areas have lost connectivity within native vegetation • excessive rate of species loss NLWRA - 1995 to 2002 Landscape science and NRM 30 September 2009 Copyright © 2009 The University of Adelaide 6
  8. 8. A mismatch of measures and intents “Australian farmers spent $3 billion on NRM over 2006-07 .. $2.3 bn on weed and pest management …$649 m on land and soil related activities” (Farm Facts 2009–10, NFF) “The dusty blanket that wrapped itself around Sydney this morning pushed air pollution levels to 1500 times their normal levels - the highest on record” (SMH 23 Sep 2009) Landscape science and NRM 30 September 2009 Copyright © 2009 The University of Adelaide 7
  9. 9. A mismatch of measures and intents “The widespread adoption (35 – 90%) of conservation tillage practices represent an agricultural practice revolution” Soil carbon levels in Australian soils are generally low and declining – (NLWRA, 2002) “farmers plant 20.6 million tree seedling for conservation purposes” (Farm Facts 2009–10, NFF) Native vegetation and biodiversity • 32% cleared in total • half agricultural landscapes have lost remnant vegetation connectivity • excessive rate of species loss (NLWRA, 2002) Landscape science and NRM 30 September 2009 Copyright © 2009 The University of Adelaide 8
  10. 10. A mismatch of measures and intents Australian farms and their closely related sectors generate $137 billion-a- year in production – underpinning 12% of GDP” (Farm Facts 2009–10, NFF) A very large proportion of Australian grazing and agriculture make no or very little profit (NLWRA, 2002) Farm enterprises often show a “spectacular mismatch between their economic efficiency .. and their biophysical inefficiency” i.e. short term profit is used to justify long term asset degradation Landscape science and NRM 30 September 2009 Copyright © 2009 The University of Adelaide 9
  11. 11. Challenges for regional NRM • local improvement, regional decline • limited resources • multiple demands • an uncertain and changing future • prioritisation • are we making a difference? What can we do to help? - recognise the complexity - improve decision support tools and capability - identify cost effective planning and implementation - promote successes Landscape science and NRM 30 September 2009 Copyright © 2008 The University of Adelaide Slide Number 10 Wayne S Meyer
  12. 12. Regional NRM – operating in the landscape science domain Natural resources Human & social ‘environment’ capital • Atmosphere o climate • Institutions • Soils • Community • Water • Jobs oquantity oquality • Biota Landscape science Decision „space‟ domain of NRM Boards Economics and finances Adapted from Good and Bald 2008 Landscape science and NRM 30 September 2009 Copyright © 2008 The University of Adelaide Slide Number 11 Wayne S Meyer
  13. 13. Lower Murray Landscape Futures (LMLF) - regional planning for the future • Identify regional NRM targets • Gather regional data • Agree on future scenarios – uncertain but not unknown • Analyse for possible options • Options inform plans http://www.landscapefutures.com.au/ Landscape science and NRM 30 September 2009 Copyright © 2009 The University of Adelaide 12
  14. 14. Least cost Most cost effective Conservation farming Deep rooted perennials Ecological restoration Cost: Cost: -1.2% of agricultural GRP -12.1% of agricultural GRP Landscape science and NRM 25 August 2009 Copyright © 2007 The University of Adelaide Slide Number 13
  15. 15. Landscape Futures Analysis – regional benefits and costs Policy options Go Best for Best for Most Cost Sustain - Indicators Anywhere Cheapest Biodiversity NRM Effective ability Ideal Ecological Restoration (ha) Total Biodiversity Benefits (Remnant vegetation) ($) Total Wind Erosion Benefits ($) Net Economic Returns ($/yr) -$64.1M -$3.8M -$38.3M -$39.5M -$33.8M -$92.4M No option is economically better than current practice! Landscape science and NRM Lower Murray Landscape Futures
  16. 16. Key message – landscape futures analysis The look and function of future landscapes are determined more by the way we use the land now than by climate change effects Landscape science and NRM 25 August 2009 Copyright © 2007 The University of Adelaide Slide Number 15
  17. 17. Other Australian experience and research assisting NRM • Potter Farmland Plan (1984 - ) • Trees, fences: Andrew Campbell (Landscapes, lifestyles & livelihoods) • (2005 - ) • Linking land and water management to resource condition targets • Learn from previous actions: Ted Lefroy • (1998 - ) • Assess and prioritise environmental and natural resource projects • 20 regions: Geoff Park Landscape science and NRM 30 September 2009 Copyright © 2009 The University of Adelaide 16
  18. 18. Other Australian experience and research assisting NRM • The Fenner School of Environment and Society • Knowledge for a Sustainable Future: Steve Dovers International connections • A multidisciplinary research group that explores the dynamics of complex adaptive systems: Nick Abel Landscape science and NRM 30 September 2009 Copyright © 2009 The University of Adelaide 17
  19. 19. Successful NRM needs: system understanding people who do things differently supportive institutional arrangements Landscape science and NRM 30 September 2009 Copyright © 2009 The University of Adelaide 18
  20. 20. Proposed model for a sustainable regional NRM system. J A Williams et al.(2008) Landscape/ Ecosystem Approach Integrated outcome focused plan Landscape science and NRM 30 September 2009 19 Copyright © 2009 The University of Adelaide
  21. 21. Successful NRM needs: a solid foundation of system understanding Landscape science and NRM 30 September 2009 Copyright © 2009 The University of Adelaide 20
  22. 22. For a good result we need • Vision and commitment • Plans based on a sound foundation of systems understanding • Supportive institutional arrangements • Policy with unambiguous signals • People with capability and motivated to change • Recognition and repetition of local improvement • Adaptive learning Landscape science and NRM 30 September 2009 Copyright © 2009 The University of Adelaide 21
  23. 23. Conclusions • Financial drivers of land use continue to over-ride natural resource maintenance • Regional NRM needs new tools and capability • Landscape futures analysis can show options for greatly improved land use to land capability • A sound bio-physical representation of an NRM region is a pre- requisite to build renewable land uses • Landscape science can help deliver improved NR condition – successful improvement is infectious! Landscape science and NRM 2 November 2007 Copyright © 2007 The University of Adelaide 22
  24. 24. The Environment Institute

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