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Scenery to wilderness: National park development in Tasmania, 1916-1992


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Mendel, LC 1999 , 'Scenery to wilderness: National park development in Tasmania, 1916-1992', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

PDF (Front matter)
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Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.

PDF (Whole thesis)
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Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.


National parks comprise a significant component of landscapes around
the world. This thesis examines the development of the national park
system in Tasmania from 1916 to 1992, with a particular emphasis on
changing conservation motives and themes, and their expression in the
reserve system.
Part One of this thesis traces the creation of national parks in Tasmania
over three major periods of reservation activity: the early period (1916-
1937); the middle period (1938-1970); and the late period (1971-1992).
Historical evidence is used to identify: the reserve proponents and their
motives; opposition to establishing reserves; the debates surrounding
the creation of reserves; and the outcomes. A developmental narrative
is given on the creation of national parks in each period, with a broader
view of identifying the dominant conservation motives and themes
and changes to these over time.
Part Two of this thesis examines the representation of three majo r
conservation attributes in national parks established across each period
of reserve development. The representation of biological diversity,
scenery and wilderness in national parks is quantified for each period.
The changing levels of representation of each of these attributes and
their relative significance to each other over time are assessed.
The historical and mapping analyses both indicate that there have been
shifting emphases in conservation motives and themes over time in
the development of Tasmanian national parks. In both the early and
middle periods the historical evidence suggests that scenery and general
nature conservation were the dominant motives behind the creation of
national parks, together with themes of tourism and recreation. In the
late period there was a shift in emphasis towards wilderness
conservation and more spe cific nature conservation as the dominant
themes. Areas of high aesthetic value had greater proportionate
representation in national parks during the early and middle periods
than the late period. While national parks were established in
wild erness areas during all periods, the representation of wilderness in
the reserve system increased dramatically during the late period. The
representation of biological diversity was biased towards high altitude
biological elements in the early and middle periods, and expanded to
capture greater diversity during the late period.
There is thus a strong relationship between motives and p atterns of
elements captured in the reserve system. However, this has been
tempered by opposition from those with economic interests in the
State's natural resources, particularly the mining, forestry and hydroelectric

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Mendel, LC
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