Bringing landscapes, lifestyles and livelihoods together to assess and engage in improving natural resource condition.


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Presented by Andrew Campbell as part of the 2009 Place and Purpose Symposium run by the Landscape Science Cluster

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Bringing landscapes, lifestyles and livelihoods together to assess and engage in improving natural resource condition.

  1. 1. Bringing landscapes, lifestyles and livelihoods together to assess and engage in improving natural resource condition. Andrew Campbell
  2. 2. Knowledge for managing Australian landscapes Andrew Campbell Place & Purpose Symposium, Adelaide 30 September 2009
  3. 3. My perspectives • Farming background Cavendish (SW Vic) • Forestry (Creswick & Melbourne) • Extension officer, Shepparton, Bendigo & Stawell • Manager, Potter Farmland Plan • National Landcare Facilitator • Post-grad studies, Holland & France • Senior Executive, Australian Government • 7 years CEO of Land & Water Australia 2 • Triple Helix Consulting
  4. 4. Outline 1. Context 2. Imperative 3. Knowledge needs 4. Implications for landscape science 3
  5. 5. 1. CONTEXT • Climate • Water • Energy • Soil & land • Food • Human health & animal welfare • Natural Resource Management 4
  6. 6. Population & carbon emissions 5 Source: WBCSD & IUCN 2008; Harvard Medical School 2008
  7. 7. Water • Every calorie takes one litre of water to produce, on average* • Like the Murray Darling Basin, all the world‘s major food producing basins are effectively ‗closed‘ or already over-committed * IWMI 2007 6
  8. 8. Energy & nutrients • The era of abundant, cheap fossil fuels is over • Rising energy costs = rising fertiliser costs 7 Remaining reserves (billions of barrels) of crude oil (EWG 2007)
  9. 9. Feeding the world • The world needs to almost double food production by 2050, & improve distribution • We have done this in the past, mainly through clearing, cultivating and irrigating more land – and to a lesser extent better varieties, more fertiliser etc • Climate change is narrowing those options, with limits to water, land, energy & nutrients • Concern among rich consumers about modern industrial food systems – human health, animal welfare, environment 8
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  11. 11. But maybe we ain‘t seen nothin yet…. 10
  12. 12. Land & soil • The FAO recently assessed trends in land condition (measured by net primary productivity) from 1981-2004 • Land degradation is increasing in severity and extent: – >20 percent of all cultivated areas >30 percent of forests >10 percent of grasslands • 1.5 billion people depend directly on land that is being degraded • Land degradation is cumulative. Limited overlap between 24% of the land surface identified as degraded now and the 15% classified in 1991, because NPP has flatlined near zero in flogged areas 11
  13. 13. 2. THE IMPERATIVE PROFOUND TECHNICAL CHALLENGES: 1. To decouple economic growth from carbon emissions 2. To increase water productivity decoupling the every calorie = 1 litre relationship 3. To increase energy productivity – more food energy out per unit of energy in – while shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy 4. To develop more sustainable food systems – while conserving biodiversity – and improving landscape amenity 5. To achieve all of the above simultaneously – If you are in the water business, you are in the energy business, and if you are in the energy business, you will soon be in the carbon 12 business
  14. 14. 3 Pillars of Sustainability KNOWLEDGE: Sustainable systems and practices must exist, and the know-how for people to implement them CAPACITY: People must have the wherewithal to be COMMITMENT: able to implement more People must sustainable systems and want it practices at sufficient 13 scale
  15. 15. 3. KNOWLEDGE From a public policy perspective, there are three main reasons to invest in knowledge: 1.To help us make better decisions & policy 2.To underpin the innovation process 3.So that we can learn as we go along — in the words of Peter Cullen: “at least we should be making new mistakes” 14
  16. 16. Knowledge 101 • Knowledge happens between the ears • An individual cognitive process and highly contextual: – “I only know what I know when I need to know it” – knowledge is most useful when it is needed • Revealed in artifacts (writing, art, formulae, products etc), skills, experience, rules of thumb and natural talent (Dave Snowden) • Across quite different domains: – Including local, Indigenous, scientific, strategic (organisational) • And different sectors: – research, policy, management, planning, extension, education, monitoring • People default to known, trusted, accessible sources 15
  17. 17. The Cynefin knowledge framework* • Climate change spans all of these domains • If temp increase > 2ºC, then disorder & chaos will reign • The challenge is to handle the necessary range of simultaneous responses – to work in all of these domains at once – to develop a system-wide perspective – & the knowledge systems and learning strategies to underpin that perspective * David Snowden & Mary Boone (2007) 16 “Leader's Framework for Decision Making” Harvard Business Review
  18. 18. Observations on the current situation • Community concern exceeds political will • Knowledge at all levels is patchy – “De Nile ain’t just a river in Egypt…” • The overall NRM/Ag knowledge system lacks cohesion – Research investment is concentrated in a few big players – Alternative technologies/approaches struggle for funds – Cross-system learning is poor – Especially across climate-carbon-water-energy-food system boundaries • Climate chaos/water/energy literacy is far too low – in the wider community – in the bureaucracy – in corporate boardrooms & management 17
  19. 19. Response Options We need to be operating in each of these quadrants Develop research partnerships +/or link into existing collaborations 18 Source: FFI CRC EverCrop
  20. 20. Beware of generalising Nurioopta Eden Valley N Lyndoch Source: Peter Hayman
  21. 21. We need a third agricultural revolution — what might it look like? • Closed loop farming systems (water, energy, nutrients, carbon) • Farming systems producing renewable bioenergy • Smart metering, sensing, telemetry, robotics, guidance • Understanding & use of soil microbial activity (&GM) • Urban food production (roofs etc), recycling waste streams & urban water and nutrients • Detailed product specification (e.g. Tesco) • ‗Carbon plus‘ offsets and incentives 20
  22. 22. A detour: woody biomass energy • Learning from the Vikings: – Finland: same area and population as Victoria, tougher climate, shorter growing season, slower growth rates – Private forestry thinnings etc produce 23% of Finland‘s primary energy, over 75% of thermal energy needs, and 20% of Finland‘s electricity – In Sweden it is 20% with a target of 40% • Foran et al suggest woody biomass energy can fuel Australia • WA already has a pilot plant using mallees 21 – Verve Energy at Narrogin
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  24. 24. Transition to carbon-neutral, energy-positive rural landscapes • We should market ‗carbon plus‘ grass-fed, rain-fed, red meat – Which means significant offsets built-in to grazing systems – Potential benefits for habitat, micro-climate, aesthetics, water quality, shelter, bioenergy and carbon • BUT: MIS schemes show that, without good planning & controls, the market will default to large monoculture plantations replacing agriculture, not integrated into farming (sub-prime carbon!) • • 23
  25. 25. ―Carbon plus‖ wool, beef and sheep meat 24
  26. 26. Forestry integrated with farming vs replacing farming 25
  27. 27. Forestry integrated with farming vs replacing farming 26
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  30. 30. The temporal dimension E. Nitens harvested from riparian revegetation after 16 years 29 Rowan Reid, Bambra Agroforestry Farm
  31. 31. The temporal dimension (2) John Marriott direct-seeding a shelterbelt on the Potter Farmland Plan ―Helm View‖ demonstration farm 1985 30
  32. 32. The shelterbelt from previous slide in 2005 (20 years on) 31
  33. 33. NRM: sequential vs parallel evolution Three major developments in NRM over the last 20 years: 1. Community landcare 2. The regional model 3. Assets-based approach — evidence-based targeting • There is a tendency to see these developments as sequential: each supplanting the previous approach • In fact they should be implemented in parallel – They are complementary, mutually reinforcing – Synergistic with good planning & delivery 32
  34. 34. The human dimension • Managing whole landscapes - landscapes: ―where nature meets culture‖ (Simon Schama) - landscapes are socially constructed - beyond ‗ecological apartheid‘ - sustainability means people management - engage values, perceptions, aspirations, behaviour - build knowledge grounded in a sense of place 33
  35. 35. An engaged community base is crucial • Rapid, often surprising, on-going environmental change will challenge governments and industries, and stress communities. • Many responses (proactive and reactive) will need to be worked out at regional and local levels. Successful implementation of tough decisions depends on community support. • This requires environmentally literate and capable delivery frameworks at regional scale, involving community leaders and engaging grassroots volunteers. • Convergence in climate, energy, water and food mandates an integrated planning & delivery framework 34
  36. 36. A Prime Ministerial Mandate Kevin Rudd, Westminster Abbey, 31 March 2009: suggesting that the free market needs a moral compass: “To these values of security, liberty and prosperity must also be grafted the values of equity, of sustainability and community.” • Equity, Sustainability, Community… • Sounds like Landcare values to me – Revisit community engagement & empowerment models – Most adaptation knowledge will come from the community, not from experts – web 2.0 is ideally suited here - social tools critical 35
  37. 37. 4. IMPLICATIONS FOR LANDSCAPE SCIENCE • Consideration of whole landscapes is more crucial than ever • We need tools that can handle the convergence of carbon, water, energy, food and health – how these interactions play out in rural landscapes – and regional economies • Make sure the portfolio is well weighted – From ‗modify‘ and ‗adapt‘ to ‗innovate‘ and ‗create‘ • Be pluralistic in disciplines and methodologies • Pay attention to the whole knowledge system – For decisions, for innovation, and for long term learning • Seek to engage and work with community science – Invest in understanding the knowledge need 36
  38. 38. Policy - putting it all together • ―Joined-up Government‖ has to be more than a slogan • New alliances, platforms, networks are needed • Climate chaos is both a row and a column • Planning for carbon, energy, transport, water, waste, fires, health, food and demographics needs integration • This requires a solid and extensive evidence base in the ‗known‘, ‗knowable‘ and ‗complex‘ domains • Chaotic domains demand good adaptive tools – e.g. real-time monitoring, environmental literacy, scenarios – resilience attributes (flexibility, redundancy, buffering etc) 37
  39. 39. A 7 point plan for renovating agriculture and natural resources 1. Rejuvenate Landcare and Re-engage the Community 2. Reinforce the Regional/Catchment Model 3. Rewire Environmental Information Systems 4. Revolutionise Agricultural Research, Extension and Education (rebrand agriculture around food, carbon, landscapes & energy) 5. Reform Drought Policy & Rural & Regional Services 6. Re-unite the Carbon, Water, Energy, Food & Farming agendas 7. Redesign the Institutional Architecture 38
  40. 40. Underpinning principles • Building Resilience • Balancing centralism and subsidiarity • Re-engaging stakeholders and devolving responsibility • Taking the time necessary to sort through complex, contested, connected issues • Building, sustaining and using a comprehensive evidence base • Investing in skills, knowledge, innovation and leadership • Budgeting for longer term stability 39
  41. 41. Take home messages • We are in a period of rapid environmental change – Not all predictable, often bewildering • This is not a blip. Normal service will not be resumed • Business as usual is not a viable trajectory – Not in business, not in policy and not in science • These are exciting days for landscape science • Food, carbon, water, energy, biodiversity & landscape amenity – A compelling big picture agenda needs fleshing out GO FOR IT! 40
  42. 42. For more info 41
  43. 43. The Environment Institute