Australia’s future landscapes – reflections on caution, hope, inspiration and transformation  <ul><li>Jason Alexandra – Fe...
Acknowledgements Thanks to CCRPSI team that invited me here Personal background and bias’s Urban upbringing in Melbourne S...
Climate change adds complexity and compounds stressors, new and old challenges  Past and future landscapes – all shaped by...
Landscapes are highly evolved, co-evolved complex systems based on long term and complex “negotiations” between culture an...
As complex systems, cultures and  landscapes co evolve.  People shape landscapes. Do landscapes shape cultures? People are...
Do landscapes shape cultures? If so how? What influences and drivers ?  People are making the landscapes of the future, In...
A landscape future of despair?
Or repair, and a new mythology of hope?
Climate change: new challenges for landscape management, adding to old challenges. We need integrated planning and assessm...
Difficulty in predicting tipping points in natural systems – eg Aral Sea But if the scientific approach fails just try “fo...
Weather gods, fear and the laws of consequence
Nature Nurture
Drought, flood, fire:  Weather related disasters -  a new myth of consequence
3. A scenario of transformational change built on policy, research and practice change: systemic innovation  A story from ...
Vast savannas managed with ancient and innovative firing techniques – production, conservation, services, sequestration, c...
New perspective on old problems – ecological management and restoration at a bioregional scale.  Competitive advantage, se...
Innovative design of structures and settlements to suit the climate – the best of applied evolutionary biology or bio-mimi...
Innovation in technology, system of governance Capitalism will find ways of adapting? New wealth from old landscapes? Serv...
4. Critical climate impacts Global challenges ahead - The approaching storm? Climate chaos!!!
Climate is hotter and drier Global average temperature Australian average temperature Satellite estimate of soil moisture
Climate change projections – CSIRO (Chew) <ul><li>Large uncertainties in global warming projections – dependent on greenho...
New uncertainty- end of stationarity.  What if the recent drought is different?   What if the factors that make Australia’...
Global Challenges <ul><ul><li>Planning under deep uncertainty – stationarity is dead.  Climate impact and risk management ...
Assessment of current settings NRM policies reflect a deep desire to care for country – degradation is unacceptable The na...
Responsibility for 60 million  years of separate evolution International obligations to protect unique biodiversity
Biodiversity conservation challenges <ul><li>Global treaty obligations - poor record but local totems and festivals– engag...
A contested history – new world nature replaced by agriculture – a vision of production: “ The soil in these grassy flats ...
&quot;Charles Darwin …. Visited Sydney in 1836. After an uncomfortable tramp over the Blue Mountains in a heat wave, he co...
Culture, stories and values change New symbols devour old symbols
From unimproved land to nature refuge From incentives to clear to incentives to care Redefining the values of native veget...
Australian water policy <ul><li>1890’s – 1980’s Development era – “drought, royal commission, new dam” </li></ul><ul><li>1...
Large dams era 1920-1980’s –  nation building and response to climate variability? 1990’s new policy directions for land a...
Major Water Storages on almost all tributaries in the MDB
Australia - an ancient nutrient poor land with low population, limited industrial development and poor water quality and e...
Australian ecosystems evolved to capture water and nutrients. When disturbed through clearing for agriculture they leak sa...
Modified catchments, nutrient and suspended sediment loads and habitat Very high nutrient and suspended sediment loads Lar...
Cost and  consequences of transforming an ancient continent 4M tonnes of sediment pa and phosphorus exports - about 13,000...
A landscape crisis – with many symptoms – eg lower lakes, Murray mouth, species loss, land degradation etc -  continues, r...
Building on the lessons and policy experiments What did we learn?  Innovation systems can be applied to larger challenges ...
The challenges remain profound – water, energy, carbon, food - decoupling, efficiency,  a solar economy, the pressures of ...
There is value of thinking about Australia’s diverse and rich landscapes in new and different ways – a conservation and cu...
Ecosystems services: Production, inspiration, reproduction, regulation, provisioning etc
“ Perceiving and valuing” Australia’s landscapes –  beyond the poverty of a colonial, economic perspective of “resources” ...
<ul><ul><li>copy </li></ul></ul>Redefining, reinterpreting, and even “redesigning Australia’s working landscapes… New idea...
The future is unknowable but approachable The future of rural Australia – driven by demographics, global trends, peri-urba...
Landscape management involves culture, practice and governance. We need innovation system and governance systems that work...
<ul><li>Australia’s national image of itself …was largely set in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, at a time w...
Every future has an approaching storm?
Conclusion: develop capacity for robust landscape policy, governance and management under uncertainty <ul><li>Use scenario...
Learn to live as  Australia’s Water is a limited resource! Bush burns!  Floodplains flood!  Droughts dry out the country –...
Creativity, innovation, cultural diversity, innovation Celebrate successes and build new stories of hope Creation stories ...
“… the way people think of themselves …will affect the way they behave in the physical framework of their lives”.  … “idea...
Australia’s diverse bioregional landscapes will evolve in the next two hundred years in directions set by profound shifts ...
The value shifts of the early 21 century may become recognised as the end of the frontier and the beginning of the settler...
 
 
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  • Source: Water and the A ustralian Economy – April 1999
  • Rainfall has been very low Lowest on record rainfall in the key high yielding upper Murray catchment We have never had two consecutive very dry years
  • Source: Water and the A ustralian Economy – April 1999
  • 2007/08 water market trends Both 2006/07 and 2007/08 water seasons have proven that the theory of markets works when applied to water As water has become scarce during drought, water has moved from low value agriculture to higher value agriculture Water market has assisted irrigators with permanent plantings to manage their businesses through the drought
  • Source: Water and the A ustralian Economy – April 1999
  • Australia’s future landscapes: reflections on caution, hope, inspiration and transformation - Jason Alexandra

    1. 1. Australia’s future landscapes – reflections on caution, hope, inspiration and transformation <ul><li>Jason Alexandra – Feb 2011 </li></ul>
    2. 2. Acknowledgements Thanks to CCRPSI team that invited me here Personal background and bias’s Urban upbringing in Melbourne Son of modern architects Early career in fine art and reforestation Environmental policy and advocacy Farming, research and consulting Catchment management and NRM Involvement in LWA from inception to 2006 Board member from 1996 to 2002 Now working for Australian Governments in river basin management - MDBA
    3. 3. Climate change adds complexity and compounds stressors, new and old challenges Past and future landscapes – all shaped by “complex negotiations” between culture and nature
    4. 4. Landscapes are highly evolved, co-evolved complex systems based on long term and complex “negotiations” between culture and nature
    5. 5. As complex systems, cultures and landscapes co evolve. People shape landscapes. Do landscapes shape cultures? People are constantly making the landscapes of the future
    6. 6. Do landscapes shape cultures? If so how? What influences and drivers ? People are making the landscapes of the future, In their own image of the ideal
    7. 7. A landscape future of despair?
    8. 8. Or repair, and a new mythology of hope?
    9. 9. Climate change: new challenges for landscape management, adding to old challenges. We need integrated planning and assessments Complexity of climate and ecological systems Invest in scientific capacity - dynamic non steady state systems Critical questions re thresholds and tipping points
    10. 10. Difficulty in predicting tipping points in natural systems – eg Aral Sea But if the scientific approach fails just try “force majeure” as an excuse. Or try finding incontrovertible evidence of the weather gods – I did!
    11. 11. Weather gods, fear and the laws of consequence
    12. 12. Nature Nurture
    13. 13. Drought, flood, fire: Weather related disasters - a new myth of consequence
    14. 14. 3. A scenario of transformational change built on policy, research and practice change: systemic innovation A story from the future, inspiration built on extrapolating small successes
    15. 15. Vast savannas managed with ancient and innovative firing techniques – production, conservation, services, sequestration, culture
    16. 16. New perspective on old problems – ecological management and restoration at a bioregional scale. Competitive advantage, seizing critical opportunities, building on two decades of reform; new industries and professions
    17. 17. Innovative design of structures and settlements to suit the climate – the best of applied evolutionary biology or bio-mimicry
    18. 18. Innovation in technology, system of governance Capitalism will find ways of adapting? New wealth from old landscapes? Services, sequestration, production, conservation, energy, biomass
    19. 19. 4. Critical climate impacts Global challenges ahead - The approaching storm? Climate chaos!!!
    20. 20. Climate is hotter and drier Global average temperature Australian average temperature Satellite estimate of soil moisture
    21. 21. Climate change projections – CSIRO (Chew) <ul><li>Large uncertainties in global warming projections – dependent on greenhouse gas emission and global climate sensitivity to increased greenhouse gas concentrations. </li></ul><ul><li>As a result of global warming - extreme rainfall will be more intense - some regions will have more rainfall, other regions will have less rainfall. </li></ul><ul><li>Large uncertainties in GCM modelling of local rainfall response to global warming. </li></ul>
    22. 22. New uncertainty- end of stationarity. What if the recent drought is different? What if the factors that make Australia’s climate variable are vulnerable to global warning? What next? New states or frequency
    23. 23. Global Challenges <ul><ul><li>Planning under deep uncertainty – stationarity is dead. Climate impact and risk management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Enlightenment” knowledge and engineering traditions assures control over nature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appropriate institutions and policies for adaptation; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Policy science integration? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Robust analysis and auditing of performance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding and acting on thresholds of change – not crash testing </li></ul></ul>
    24. 24. Assessment of current settings NRM policies reflect a deep desire to care for country – degradation is unacceptable The nations values and relationships with nature are changing. “ Australia no longer seen as cornucopia of resources for exploitation but in need of care” But now “quarry Australia”
    25. 25. Responsibility for 60 million years of separate evolution International obligations to protect unique biodiversity
    26. 26. Biodiversity conservation challenges <ul><li>Global treaty obligations - poor record but local totems and festivals– engage people, eg king fisher festival </li></ul><ul><li>Bringing sustainability to life, </li></ul><ul><li>beauty that takes your breath away </li></ul>
    27. 27. A contested history – new world nature replaced by agriculture – a vision of production: “ The soil in these grassy flats was of the richest description: indeed the whole of the country seemed capable of being converted into good wheat land, … and of being easily irrigated, at any time by the river. .... the genial southern breeze played over the reedy flats, which one day might be converted into clover-fields”. Major T.L. Mitchell , 1836
    28. 28. &quot;Charles Darwin …. Visited Sydney in 1836. After an uncomfortable tramp over the Blue Mountains in a heat wave, he concluded that Australia could never become another America - its soil was too poor, its rains too unpredictable . Instead it must depend on becoming &quot;the centre of commerce for the southern hemisphere and perhaps on her future manufactories.” McCalman, The Age, 10 August 2002.
    29. 29. Culture, stories and values change New symbols devour old symbols
    30. 30. From unimproved land to nature refuge From incentives to clear to incentives to care Redefining the values of native vegetation – including woodlands, arid and savanna systems Landuse and water policy in transition
    31. 31. Australian water policy <ul><li>1890’s – 1980’s Development era – “drought, royal commission, new dam” </li></ul><ul><li>1994 COAG reforms – environmental flows, unbundling water and land “titles”; corporatisation and cost recovery </li></ul><ul><li>1995 – MDB “Cap” on more extractions </li></ul><ul><li>National Water Initiative 2004 – reaffirms commitments to reform agenda, eflows and markets’ role in reallocating water </li></ul>
    32. 32. Large dams era 1920-1980’s – nation building and response to climate variability? 1990’s new policy directions for land and water “ dreams of taming the rivers, greening the desert, and making land productive, run deep in the national psyche”
    33. 33. Major Water Storages on almost all tributaries in the MDB
    34. 34. Australia - an ancient nutrient poor land with low population, limited industrial development and poor water quality and ecological condition in most rivers
    35. 35. Australian ecosystems evolved to capture water and nutrients. When disturbed through clearing for agriculture they leak salt, soils, nutrients
    36. 36. Modified catchments, nutrient and suspended sediment loads and habitat Very high nutrient and suspended sediment loads Largely unmodified River and catchment Condition
    37. 37. Cost and consequences of transforming an ancient continent 4M tonnes of sediment pa and phosphorus exports - about 13,000 tonnes pa Most agricultural lands have erosion 5-50 times greater than pre-European settlement.
    38. 38. A landscape crisis – with many symptoms – eg lower lakes, Murray mouth, species loss, land degradation etc - continues, resounding call for farming revolution and new approaches to NRM Climate turns old NRM challenges into new bigger challenges
    39. 39. Building on the lessons and policy experiments What did we learn? Innovation systems can be applied to larger challenges of the 21 century – not just NRM … towards a transformative energy, food and carbon and conservation economy
    40. 40. The challenges remain profound – water, energy, carbon, food - decoupling, efficiency, a solar economy, the pressures of billions and the need for new scalable solutions
    41. 41. There is value of thinking about Australia’s diverse and rich landscapes in new and different ways – a conservation and cultural economy – and thinking about our skills as valuable – stressed tested by drought, variability, distance. Built from multi-culturalism, multi functionality New approaches to old problems Redefining landscape goals through NRM plans – redefining progress Measuring the right indicators of success Dreaming the country
    42. 42. Ecosystems services: Production, inspiration, reproduction, regulation, provisioning etc
    43. 43. “ Perceiving and valuing” Australia’s landscapes – beyond the poverty of a colonial, economic perspective of “resources” for exploitation or sustainable production but also including the wondrous, the celebration of nature, the cultural connections to place
    44. 44. <ul><ul><li>copy </li></ul></ul>Redefining, reinterpreting, and even “redesigning Australia’s working landscapes… New ideas, new production systems, new climates New industrial ecosystems New instruments …incentives and legal innovations
    45. 45. The future is unknowable but approachable The future of rural Australia – driven by demographics, global trends, peri-urban – demographics, structural change and NRM
    46. 46. Landscape management involves culture, practice and governance. We need innovation system and governance systems that work. New strategic R&D interventions – from problem solving to shared learning and system solutions
    47. 47. <ul><li>Australia’s national image of itself …was largely set in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, at a time when a combination of British imperial power and the industrial revolution gave us a privileged international position as commodity producers with secure markets. That world has gone forever. The global terms of trade aren’t going to suddenly flow back in the direction of commodity producers”. (Keating 2002) </li></ul>
    48. 48. Every future has an approaching storm?
    49. 49. Conclusion: develop capacity for robust landscape policy, governance and management under uncertainty <ul><li>Use scenarios - plan for extremes - eg low water availability and deeper drought/ bigger storms, climate change extremes </li></ul><ul><li>In the South, plan for long term reductions in rainfall and runoff </li></ul><ul><li>Accept a future of intense competition for natural resources </li></ul><ul><li>In face of uncertainty: </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional and policy innovation required </li></ul><ul><li>Build diverse, local adaptive capacity </li></ul><ul><li>Adopt policies to support adjustment and adaptation eg water market reforms supports risk management and local adaptation </li></ul>
    50. 50. Learn to live as Australia’s Water is a limited resource! Bush burns! Floodplains flood! Droughts dry out the country – 70 out of 200 years Conclusions 2: Water and drought
    51. 51. Creativity, innovation, cultural diversity, innovation Celebrate successes and build new stories of hope Creation stories not extinction stories “ There is magic in boldness” Goethe
    52. 52. “… the way people think of themselves …will affect the way they behave in the physical framework of their lives”. … “ideas are all Australia has … Not military might, or a large population, or unique resources. … Ideas are what must sustain our democracy, nurture our community and drive our economy into new areas ( Paul Keating (2002)
    53. 53. Australia’s diverse bioregional landscapes will evolve in the next two hundred years in directions set by profound shifts in the underpinning cultural, institutional and economic relationships with nature, along with climate change and a reduced abundance of resources such as fossil fuels and fresh water
    54. 54. The value shifts of the early 21 century may become recognised as the end of the frontier and the beginning of the settler society. A new dominant culture emerges based on respect and care for nature in this ancient continent. New symbols and stories of hope, of restoration are emerging. These signs of hope inspire bolder action and bigger visions: eventually the momentum will be unstoppable. (Alexandra and Riddington, Futures Vol 39, 2006)
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