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Mapping regional metabolism: a decision-support tool for natural resource management

  • Year: 2003
  • Author: Birkeland J; Schoonveldt J
  • Publisher: Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation
  • Published Location: Canberra, ACT
  • ISBN: 0642761078
  • Country: Australia

Natural resource management (NRM) at the regional level is an essential step towards sustainability and the revitalisation of rural and regional Australia. There is, however, a critical need for improved NRM decision making processes and techniques if those goals are to be realised. This report explores the potential to use materials flow analysis (MFA) as a decision-making tool in NRM and examines the availability of data at the regional level. MFA is a metabolic approach to the transformation of energy and materials within systems and integrates social, economic and environmental dimensions of NRM. It is argued that MFA provides a sound basis for sustainability auditing and can be used to resolve existing problems in natural resource management and to guide rural revitalisation. The report provides a new conceptual framework to guide the future application of MFA and suggests a number of specific strategies or leverage points to foster cost effective rural social, economic and ecological revitalisation. The report also explores how the MFA whole system approach could be applied to Land and Water Australia's four integrating themes.

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