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Revisiting crisis, change and institutions in the tropical forests: The multifunctional transition in Australia's Wet Tropics

journal contribution
posted on 12.09.2018, 00:00 by NE Stork, Stephen TurtonStephen Turton, R Hill, MB Lane
Environmental management has progressed from a tenure-based process, where each tenure is established for a single purpose, to one that considers multiple, often conflicting, uses across multiple tenures at the landscape scale. Here we consider the history of management, contestation and conservation of humid tropical rainforests of north-east Australia, Australia's Wet Tropics, and investigate the unfolding expression of new and diverse values attached to the region. We show that i) for environmental managers, the task of understanding and giving expression to diverse human values attached to environmental resources is an on-going, complex and transdisciplinary task, ii) there is no 'moment' when a landscape, and the human values which make it legible, are 'secured', and iii) by locating dynamic social values as central to the project of environmental (or in this case, forest) management, we begin to understand managing for concurrent values as a central challenge for contemporary natural resource management. Three examples of multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches to forest management for concurrence are examined: 1) managing the diverse impacts of rainforest tourism, 2) managing competing demands on a rapidly changing coastal community, and 3) bridging the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous indicators of forest condition. Our analysis supports the current theory of nested adaptive policy cycles that change inresponse to exogenous factors, rather than the Multi-Level Perspective which attributes causality to endogenous forces. We suggest that 21st Century environmental problems such as climate change and biodiversity loss will lead to further major social transformations and the path generation to increasing complexity will continue. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.




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Pergamon Press, UK

Peer Reviewed


Open Access


External Author Affiliations

Griffith University; CSIRO

Era Eligible



Journal of Rural Studies