Published on November 27, 2008
Developments Downunder - current trends in science and policy for managing Australian landscapes Andrew Campbell www.triplehelix.com.au NCEAS Santa Barbara 13 September 2007 1 Outline • Australian context • Learning for Sustainability • The role of knowledge • Improving knowledge systems • Introducing AEON 2 1
My perspectives • Farming background south-eastern Australia • Forestry & rural sociology training • Extension officer • National Landcare Facilitator • Post-grad studies, Holland & France • Senior Executive, Australian Government • 7 years as CEO of Land & Water Australia • Triple Helix Consulting – landscapes, lifestyles & livelihoods 3 Australia: the continent • Area comparable to mainland US • 7% to 10% of world’s species • oldest, most isolated continent • oldest living life forms, tallest flowering plants • largest areas of coral reef and sea-grass • Mega-diverse, extraordinary endemism 1350 endemic vertebrate spp • 37,000km coastline • 3rd largest fishing zone 2
The driest, flattest, most poorly drained, nutrient depleted and geologically stable continent 5 The lowest run-off and streamflow of any continent, and the world’s most variable climate world’ High 0.7 Australian lowland rivers 0.6 Means that Australian lowland rivers are the most variable on Earth 0.5 (Martin Thoms) Thoms) Index of 0.4 Variability 0.3 Colorado 0.2 Mississippi 0.1 Low 0 amazon colorado limpopo yangtze missis cooper fit vaa vis ree ura nth god hua sao son syr sth Based on Puckridge et al (1998) 3
Perth’s Annual Storage Inflow GL (1911-2005) 1000 900 Total annual* inflow** to Perth dams (GL) 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 1911 1914 1917 1920 1923 1926 1929 1932 1935 1938 1941 1944 1947 1950 1953 1956 1959 1962 1965 1968 1971 1974 1977 1980 1983 1986 1989 1992 1995 1998 2001 2004 Annual inflow 1911–1974 (338 GL av) 1975–1996 (177 GL av) 1997–2004 (115 GL av) Notes: * year is taken as May to April and labelled year is beginning (winter) of year ** inflow is simulated based on Perth dams in 2001 and 2005 is total until 3 August 2005 through the macroscope • a small young nation in a vast ancient continent • unique biological & cultural richness and diversity in a highly variable climate • at the sharp end of global climate change • communities on-side • few people and dollars per unit landscape • malleable institutions, an open economy • sufficient know-how to make progress • the sustainability journey is the challenge of our age 8 4
Sustainability issues are typically characterised by (after Dovers): • highly variable spatial and temporal scales • the possibility of absolute ecological limits • irreversible impacts and related policy urgency • complexity, connectivity, uncertainty & ambiguity • cumulative rather than discrete impacts • value-laden issues & new moral dimensions • systemic problem causes • contested methods and instruments • ill-defined property rights and responsibilities • expectation of stakeholder/citizen participation 9 The integration challenge • Managing whole landscapes - “where nature meets culture” (Schama) culture” (Schama) - landscapes are socially constructed - beyond ‘ecological apartheid’ apartheid’ - sustainability means people management - engage values, perceptions, aspirations, behaviour • Integration -across issues – e.g climate, energy & water -across scales -across the triple helix -landscapes, lifestyles & livelihoods 10 5
The Australian Natural Resource Management (NRM) Policy Context Lots to like about the overall approach: • Agreement on the big issues & need for coordinated, ‘joined up government’ • Unprecedented commitment from PM down, reflected in CoAG agenda & $$ • Primary industries increasingly seeing NRM as their business (if not yet ‘core’) • Grassroots farmer and community participation – Landcare and the regional model comprise a wonderful platform • Hard issues like property rights finally on the table • Innovative measures to allocate resources – e.g. Bush/Plains Tender • Leading new approaches to landscape ecology that recognise that landscapes are socially constructed and people are integral • Vibrant NRM research scene, rural R&D model, some outstanding researchers and exciting research 11 Fitzgerald wilderness Whole landscape community led 12 conservation 6
Bush wisdom with the community • Information collection on an area basis, not subject or species • Research hot wired to action • Information stored in and spread from a regional base • Continuity of work, staff and population 13 A big policy agenda • Defining environmental deliverables - leadership • Fostering innovation – Breakthrough technologies – Smarter institutions, including markets • Best-practice regulation • Sorting out the planning hierarchy (i.e. the Federation) • Juicier carrots and smarter sticks • Monitoring and evaluating impact • Continental scale analysis and prediction • Bringing the community along 14 7
The role of knowledge • Knowledge (along with commitment and capacity) is one of three essential conditions for the development of more sustainable systems of resource use and management • We need better knowledge for three reasons: – To help make better decisions – To underpin the innovation process – To learn as we go along (so that at least we make new mistakes) 15 Knowledge 101 • Knowledge happens between the ears • An individual cognitive process and highly contextual: – “I only know what I know when I need to know it” • Revealed in artifacts (writing, art, formulae, products etc), skills, experience, rules of thumb and natural talent (Dave Snowden) • Across quite different domains: – Including local, Indigenous, scientific, strategic (organisational) • And different sectors: – research, policy, management, planning, extension, education, monitoring • people default to known, trusted, accessible sources: – credibility, dialogue, easy access & honesty all critical – timing is crucial: knowledge is most useful when it is needed • The organisation of research is thus critical 16 8
Knowledge Systems • At societal and professional levels, we must think about how the knowledge system as a whole works to serve three key purposes: – Better decision making – Fomenting and supporting innovation – Longer term evaluation, learning and adaptive management • The NRM knowledge system is a classic ‘human activity system’ (‘soft’) as opposed to natural or designed systems (‘hard’) • No-one set out to design and build national or international NRM knowledge systems • But they exist, and we invest a lot of money in them • There is value in analysing the whole system to identify ways of helping it to work better 17 Analysing knowledge systems • Description – Boundaries: defining the scope of analysis – Components: describing the elements within these boundaries • Purpose – How well the system as a whole can be directed to serve priorities at the relevant scale (sub-national, national, regional, international etc) • Function (performance) – How well it serves the knowledge needs for more sustainable management of natural resources: decisions, innovation, learning • Cohesion – How well the various components of the system work together in delivering intended functions towards a desired purpose 18 9
R&D Corporations Australian Greenhouse Some components of the Aust •Cotton •Fisheries Office NRM Knowledge System Australian •Forest and Wood Products CSIRO ANU Bureau of •Grains Statistics Community •Grape and Wine Landcare groups •Land & Water Australia Geoscience Horticulture Australia •Rural Industries Hobby Australia Regional •Sugar Knowledge Universities NRM Bodies Knowledge Farmers Australian Generation and Australian Water Authorities Adoption Indigenous Pork Management Wool Innovation Commercial Indigenous Communities Limited Advisory Land Cooperative Research Centres Services Commercial Corporation Meat and •E-Water Farmers Local Livestock •Plant based Management of Governments Australia Dryland Salinity Australian Community State NRM & •Irrigation Futures Govt NRM Water Grants Ag Agencies National Land and •Weed Management Facilitators National Rural Water Resources Audit •Tropical Savannas Management Department of Landcare residential •Australasian Invasive Animals Agriculture Program •Coastal Zone, Estuary and Fisheries Natural Envirofund Dairy Waterway Management •Cotton Catchment Communities and Forestry Heritage Trust Australia •Desert Knowledge Department of Environment National •Greenhouse Accounting and Heritage Action Plan •Sustainable Forest Landscapes National Water Commission Policy and for Salinity and Water Legend •Landscape Environments and Mineral Exploration Programs Quality Bureau of Productivity Departments of State (FMA Act) Rural Commission Sciences Coastcare National Water Statutory Agencies (FMA Act) within portfolios Initiative Statutory Agencies (CAC Act) within portfolios Bushcare Corporatised R&D Corporations (Statutory Funding Agreement) Funding Programs The Australian NRM knowledge system • Total Ag & NRM research spend nationally exceeds $1B per year • Crowded, fragmented scene – 40 ‘core’ agencies in the NRM knowledge business at Commonwealth level – >80 agencies in wider NRM knowledge system at national level – not counting their equivalents in eight other jurisdictions • Relevant knowledge for a given decision is rarely dictated by agency, regional, commodity or state boundaries – or temporal boundaries – a 20 year old project (especially maps, surveys etc) can still be highly pertinent • ‘grey’ literature (consultancy reports etc) poorly recorded, lots of wheels being reinvented • How to get the whole system working better? 20 10
Analysing the NRM Knowledge System - purpose and cohesion • The system does not currently appear to be purposeful – no capacity to comprehend or analyse the whole – plenty of helicopters, no air traffic control or satellites • A Cohesion hierarchy: communication < coordination < synthesis < synergy – Linkages between sectors are generally poor – Ditto knowledge domains: local, indigenous, scientific, strategic – We tend to fund the boxes, not the arrows – There are no effective system-level communication or coordination mechanisms 21 Analysing the NRM Knowledge System - function • How well does the system as a whole meet and respond to the needs of its users? How does it help us to make better decisions and to learn our way to more sustainable NRM? – Generally not as well as it could or should – OK on nature, cause and extent of problems – Poor on predicting impact of interventions or continental change, and on generating practical, profitable, adoptable solutions – Very poor on monitoring resource extent and condition, and management practices – Consequently poor at servicing monitoring and evaluation needs – Very poor at sharing information on what is happening where and lessons learned across the whole system; – amnesia is systemic, built in, guaranteed… 22 11
Improving the Australian NRM Knowledge System Function – helping us to learn at all levels • Memory aids – making stuff easy to find and access • M&E tools that pull out and underline the lessons • Ways of honouring, retaining and tapping into elders • Centres of Excellence • Lift the game on Monitoring & Evaluation • A long term research, monitoring & analysis network 23 Enter AEON Australian Ecosystem Observing Network • High level question: “how are Australian ecosystems changing and what does this mean for the services they provide” • $20m start-up grant from the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, aiming to deliver: • Improved understanding of cause and effect in landscapes • Foundation for innovation along the value chain – Research knowledge to practice, management tools and policy – Pro-active adaptation • Systems thinking, integration across disciplines, trans-disciplinary research • Continental scale analysis and synthesis 24 12
AEON elements 1. National centre focused on analysis, integration, synthesis and prediction (probably based at University of Queensland); 2. Regional hubs linked to national issues and communities of users and managers – catchments and regions; 3. Technical, ‘hard systems’ infrastructure such as new high resolution data sets, wireless networks, sensors and systems – nationally distributed sensor networks linked by state of the art ICT; – Long term ecological research sites, integrating water, soils & biodiversity data streams; – Integrating and building on the LTER and OzFlux network – Supported by environmental genomics capability 25 Australian Ecosystem Observing Network CORE DATASETS ANZLIC AUSCOPE IMPROVED POLICY & PRACTICE International (Geospatial Reference Framework Links & Earth Systems Model) NCEAS, NEON (US) Govt Datasets (ASRIS, NCAS, ECN (UK) NVIS, NLWRA, FireWatch etc) LTER network PRIVATES National Centre Flux network (SKM, ESRI, Google, Telstra, for Analysis & GTOS Leica) Synthesis BoM (New water accounting system) CSIRO/BoM SCIENTIFIC RESPONSE (Climate models) KNOWLEDGE MEASUREMENT GLOBAL (GTOS, LTER, MEA) Data services link to NCRIS 5.16 Platforms for Collaboration RELATED NCRIS COMPONENTS ENABLING PFC TECHNOLOGIES IMOS ICT Living Atlas Data management Population Health Environmental genetics & genomics AUSCOPE Sensors, metering & telemetry Biological Systems Remote sensing & high res imagery AEON HUBS Citizen science tools Other South-east QLD Southern Irrigated South-west (TBC) Tropical-Arid C, N, H2O Forests MDB WA C, N, H2O etc Biodiversity C, N, H2O C, N, H2O C, N, H2O Transect Nutrients C, N, H2O Biodiversity Groundwater Biodiversity Development vs Fire Nutrients Groundwater BiodiversityFire water yield Water yield Soil health Fire 26 Invasives 13
The regional model: an integrated approach • The regional model (56 catchment bodies) is an ambitious attempt to implement sustainable NRM at a landscape scale: – Devolve decision making & resource allocation to appropriate scale – Tap into and build on deep local knowledge and connection to place – Work across issues and industries in an integrated way • integration means making whole – across scales, issues, land tenures and land uses – in the users’ context • that requires excellent relationships • And comprehensive knowledge 27 Making the system more Cohesive • First ensure that activities are transparent and accessible across the whole system • Fund the arrows, not just the boxes – Especially between knowledge sectors & knowledge domains – Mandate, train and resource brokers and boundary spanners – Interconnected knowledge networks – exploit new technologies – A First Stop Knowledge Shop for the regional model • Reward collaborative behaviour 28 14
Knowledge assets of interest Magazines Spatial datasets Publications Reference books •Reference books Funding Journal•Journal articles and (Guidelines opportunities manuals etc) articles•Research reports •Pamphlets Anecdotal •Magazines Conference evidence Research proceedings •Conference proceedings report Knowledge needs Current Specialist Decision Decision support tools research Research directory frameworks •Programsadvice projects •Models •Projects •Decision frameworks •Specialist contacts Current research Models •Spreadsheets Spreadsheets for advice programs NRM Toolbar interface [Click name to [Click name to My profile NRM search open My library] see librarian Customise my Google Australia R&D Directory services] toolbar Organisation This Worked Here! Click dropdown Update toolbar assets to view list of Includes form Uninstall toolbar Knowledge needs Advanced folders for requesting Help Events and funding (Playlists) that information from Contact us [Searches on Decision tools stays open to the librarian selection] allow drag and Knowledge market drop from Square icon report search results indicates Add/Delete which databases search engine is selected [Click to see current [Click to logout or alerts plus access login as someone alert settings] else] 15
In summary • Knowledge is fundamental for sustainability • Public science is fundamental for sustainability knowledge • Research investors are ‘keepers of the long view’ • The R&D (scientific inquiry) process itself must be nested within an appropriate framework of governance, management, adoption and legacy effort • We need better prediction, analysis and synthesis capabilities - AEON should help – Lots of scope for international partnerships! • Understanding the knowledge need is crucial 31 Contacts Facilitator: Prof Paul J Perkins AM Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Andrew Campbell email@example.com Science Adviser: Prof Graham Harris AM Email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.clw.csiro.au/tern/ http://www.ncris.dest.gov.au/capabilities/tern.htm 16
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