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Regional natural resource management: is it sustainable

  • Year: 2004
  • Author: Paton, Sandy; Curtis, Allan; McDonald, Geoff; Woods, Mary
  • Journal Name: Australasian Journal of Environmental Management
  • Journal Number: Vol.11, No.4
  • Country: Australia

In an effort to achieve sustainable Natural Resource Management (NRM), the Commonwealth and State governments have moved to a regional focus for their major funding programs. This approach was driven by the belief that previous arrangements had been unable to achieve the required amount of change at the appropriate landscape scale and that state and national priorities were not being addressed. The authors, with a background in regional and national NRM and Landcare across the three Eastern States, have used their experience and knowledge of recent literature in this area, to evaluate the regional approach to NRM. As part of our evaluation we review the assumptions behind the move to the regional model and explore its strengths and weakness. Some of the key strengths of the approach are that it facilitates landscape scale management, enhances integration across agencies and governments, and builds partnerships and enhances the capacity of participants. A key weakness is that there continues to be a focus on outputs rather than outcomes and this hinders our learning about how to improve NRM. Other weaknesses are poorly developed methodologies to underpin integration at the regional scale, the high transaction costs involved in operating across the federal structure, insufficient autonomy for regional groups, and a lack of forward funding commitments.

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