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Beyond the barbed wire fence is a foreign country: thinking and managing across tenures.


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Presented by Steve Dovers as part of the 2009 Place and Purpose Symposium run by the Landscape Science Cluster

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Beyond the barbed wire fence is a foreign country: thinking and managing across tenures.

  1. 1. Beyond the barbed wire fence is a foreign country: thinking and managing across tenures. Steve Dovers
  2. 2. Symposium: People and Place Adelaide, September 2009 Steve Dovers and Carina Wyborn Fenner School of Environment & Society The Australian National University
  3. 3. Beyond the Barbed Wire Fence is a Foreign Country  Proposition: That Australian resource and environmental management (and other policy and practical enterprises as well) largely revolves around the challenge of comprehending and managing interconnected assets and processes, in spite of the fractures in understanding and administration imposes by boundaries, between disciplines, tenures, jurisdictions and sectors... Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 2
  4. 4. This talk…  Some persistent themes in boundaries and boundary-crossing.  … especially tenure.  The latest venture – big ecological connectivity projects.  Issues going forward: -- need to match the science and vision with social and institutional factors. Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 3
  5. 5. Acknowledgements  This Symposium, for expanding „landscape science‟ to include humans.  Land & Water Australia (RIP) for supporting a research project on the social and institutional aspects of cross-tenure land management -- who else would have, and who else now could or would? Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 4
  6. 6. Persistent boundaries… 1. Federalism: vertical disintegration. 2. State borders: historically defined divisions of data, responsibility and ownership. 3. Local govt: ditto. 4. Portfolios and sectors: dividing integrated systems into specialist parts. 5. Disciplines/professional knowledge systems: understanding parts of the whole. 6. And tenure … where land can be used for only one thing at a time. Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 5
  7. 7. And especially tenure  Australian binary attitude to private versus other tenures – for most Australians, beyond the barbed wire fence is a foreign country.  EXAMPLES:  On- and off-reserve biodiversity conservation.  Endless angst over distinguishing public and private benefit in conservation and NRM.  Paranoia over subsidies (unlike elsewhere).  Pastoral leases – multiple use as unthinkable to many people. Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 6
  8. 8. (A diversion…)  Tenure and other boundaries in the urban domain.  Fluid in an era of: -- densification of urban form. -- privatisation of public space.  Considerable research and debate in this area currently (eg. State of Australian Cities Conferences 2003, 05, 07, 09).  ..invites some urban-rural comparison. Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 7
  9. 9. Walking and chewing gum at the same time: Earl Grey to the NSW Governor in 1848: “I think it essential that it should be generally understood that leases granted for this purpose give the grantees only an exclusive right of pasturage for their cattle, and of cultivating such land as they may require within the large limits thus assigned to them, but that these leases are not intended to deprive the natives of their former right to hunt over these districts, or to wander over them in search of subsistence, in the manner to which they have been heretofore accustomed…” Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 8
  10. 10. Other forgotten leads..  The recognition, disappearance and emergence of a doctrine of public trust in Australia.  The emergence and then disappearance of duty of care on private lands re land degradation. (On these three, see Holmes, Bonyhady and Bradsen in: Dovers (ed) 2000. Environmental history and policy: still settling Australia. Oxford University Press.)  Result: struggle to manage across tenures, and alienation from much of the landscape, and from knowledge of natural systems and primary production, of the majority of Australians. Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 9
  11. 11. But, much boundary crossing… 1. Federalism: never-ending experiments in framework policies, coordination - vertical policy integration. 2. States: NRS, MBD, AALC, etc. 3. Local govt: regional planning, ROCS. 4. Portfolios/sectors: ICM, ICZM, CMAs, Env Commissioners, sustainability offices, RFA, NWI, IDCs – horizontal policy integration. 5. Disciplines: integrative research, double degrees, schools of environment, etc. 6. Tenure: pasture protection boards, Landcare, covenants, stewardship payments, etc. … the past and present of Aust environmental management - how effective have we been? Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 10
  12. 12. Proposition confirmed  Few significant resource and environmental management problems do not involve boundary-crossing challenges.  Reconstructed as exercises in implementing ecologically sustainable development -- the complexity and difficulty of boundary constraints enlarges, incorporating a greater number (and imperviousness) of political, legal and administrative boundaries. Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 11
  13. 13. The latest and biggest…  Large ecological connectivity projects - >30 currently.  Landscape scale = „00s to „000s km.  Relatively recent, experimental, and largely non-govt led.  Longer history overseas -- Y2Y Yellowstone-to-Yukon, A2A Algonquin-to- Adirondack; B2B Baja-to-Bering Sea; PP Panther’s Path.  Conservation-by-acronym… Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 12
  14. 14. …in case hadn’t noticed Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 13
  15. 15. Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 14
  16. 16. A new idea? Connectivity thinking in Middle Earth in its Third Age… “…of the Old Forest many tales have been told: all that now remains is but an outlier of its northern march. Time was when a squirrel could go from tree to tree from what is now the Shire to Dunland west of Isengard. In those lands I journeyed once, and many things wild and strange I knew.” (Elrond) Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 15
  17. 17. Key elements  Biodiversity and ecological processes cannot be preserved and managed within boundaries: -- strongly emerging ecological science. -- imperative to manage biodiversity across tenures and jurisdictions – large scale. -- a vision of engagement with people and communities – ownership? -- highly varied scale, style, resources. -- little suggestion of requisite social, policy, institutional and administrative infrastructure. Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 16
  18. 18. The challenge  Coordination of policy and on-ground management over greater scales, and across more boundaries, than ever before: -- public-private tenures. -- different public tenures. -- different private tenures. -- levels of government and jurisdictions. -- policy sectors and agencies. -- disciplines and knowledge systems. -- and across multiple values and expectations, not just landscape scale ecological imperatives. Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 17
  19. 19. Boundaries residual and ignored  Values and expectations – roles, uses, responsibilities, priorities.  The primacy of knowledge claims – ecological, social, economic.  Institutions, beyond marginal adjustments to existing organisations and loose links, to possible new rules and property rights.  … these have received little attention in connectivity research and initiatives. Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 18
  20. 20. But, many rehearsals…  Are big connectivity projects being developed in isolation: -- from one another? -- from previous experience?  Lessons available from past efforts: -- ICM, ICZM, regional orgs, strategic planning, etc, etc.  Especiallyimportant re lack of social and institutional factors. Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 19
  21. 21. (In)conclusion…  Australian resource and environmental management can be constructed as being largely a struggle within and against boundaries.  We have long experience, of contested efficacy, and of questionable accumulated learning.  Large scale ecological connectivity projects are the latest and the most ambitious enterprise.  These may refashion our abilities and achievements, or be crippled as they try to breach boundaries.  If the former, then more and early attention should be paid to social and institutional dimensions, and to previous experience. Dovers & Wyborn, PPS, Adelaide, 2009 20
  22. 22. The Environment Institute