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Integrated catchment management and natural resource management: a case study of the Little Swanport catchment


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Kelly, MJ (2012) Integrated catchment management and natural resource management: a case study of the Little Swanport catchment. Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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In Tasmania’s Little Swanport catchment there has been 12 years of diverse effort in
research, planning and implementation to progress integrated catchment management
(ICM), and natural resource management (NRM). Those labours provide an
opportunity to reflect upon how to improve prospects for success in the application
of ICM in that catchment; the lessons gained may have wider application given the
national governance framework for NRM in Australia. The present study has four
aims. The first aim is to present a critical analysis of the impacts of changes in the
legislative, policy and administrative frameworks of NRM at national, state and local
government levels. That analysis is informed by and sympathetic to the literature on
adaptive management. The second aim is to elaborate upon a case study of onground
initiatives at catchment and property scales in the Little Swanport catchment
that embrace specific ICM and more general NRM strategies. That case study was
based on qualitative research methods and especially those indebted to my
ethnographic and action-research interventions as a participant researcher working in
both the catchment and broader NRM policy circles in southern Tasmania. The third
aim was to take insights from the critical analysis and fold them through those gained
from the empirical work to gain an appreciation of how ICM is translated from
policy to ground and with what effects for those involved in the process. The
rationale for this three-step approach is that the Catchment Committee I have worked
with was funded by the Australian Government through one of three regional NRM
organisations, NRM South, to develop a whole-of-catchment and whole-ofecosystem
planning model for the Little Swanport that could be applied more widely
throughout the region. Therefore, I am both a subject in and student of the process
reported here. Qualitative research methods allow for this dual status. Findings
suggest that stakeholders – federal and state governments, local councils and
community members alike – did not fully consider a number of cultural and
governance parameters and practices that are imperative to multilateral land
management – among them trust, commitment and communication. Without such
qualities being consciously present and maintained, evidence suggests that ICM
processes were doomed to fail. To counteract such an outcome, my fourth aim was
to identify what qualities might be necessary for the successful delivery of ICM in southern Tasmania. These include genuine commitment to ICM for a determined
length of time by key stakeholders, adequate resourcing to ensure the ongoing
engagement of skilled locally based professional extension staff, and on occasion
independent facilitators, a clearly articulated purpose for bringing stakeholders
together, the creation of a framework and culture to facilitate trust, the development
of a communication strategy and processes for conflict resolution. Additionally,
ICM must be informed by research efforts identified by and involving local
stakeholders. Realistic actions and expectations are essential – ones that recognise
and respect the commitment and capacity for volunteers and paid staff. Finally,
successful ICM requires a conscious adaptive management approach to enable a
positive collaborative process, which results in behavioural change that maintains
and improves the ecological, social and economic condition of the catchment in

Item Type: Thesis (Research Master)
Keywords: Intergrated catchment management - natural resource management - Little Swanport catchment
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Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2012 23:21
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:53
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