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Australia's forests: Contested past, tenure-driven present, uncertain future

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  • Kanowski, Peter J.

Abstract

Australia's forests have been characterized by a history of contestation and conflict since British colonization in 1788. This paper adopts a “pathways to sustainability” approach to review Australia's forest governance models, which are strongly tenure-dependent, and generally vary between sub-national jurisdictions; only climate change-related policies, which are in a state of considerable flux, apply to all forests. Consequently, pathways to sustainability are defined largely in terms of the dominant purpose of particular tenures, and are now little-integrated across institutions, landscapes or tenures. Three decades of trialing devolved models of natural resource governance have effectively been abandoned, as have many of the initiatives intended to support development of a more diverse and more integrated ‘forestry’ sector. While the near-term prospects for sustainability of Australia's forests in anything more than the narrowest sense are poor, there are both knowledge-based and historical institutional foundations from which more substantive progress towards sustainability could be realized. This progress will need to be founded on approaches to policy development and implementation that recognize and accommodate the plurality of interests in forests, that enhance coordination and integration between institutions and across landscapes, and that empower and enable the diverse communities of interests in forests.

Suggested Citation

  • Kanowski, Peter J., 2017. "Australia's forests: Contested past, tenure-driven present, uncertain future," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 56-68.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:forpol:v:77:y:2017:i:c:p:56-68
    DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2015.06.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. World Commission on Environment and Development,, 1987. "Our Common Future," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780192820808.
    2. Beland Lindahl, Karin & Sandström, Camilla & Sténs, Anna, 2017. "Alternative pathways to sustainability? Comparing forest governance models," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 69-78.
    3. Musselwhite, Gary & Herath, Gamini, 2005. "Australia's regional forest agreement process: analysis of the potential and problems," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 579-588, May.
    4. Roche, Michael, 2017. "Forest governance and sustainability pathways in the absence of a comprehensive national forest policy — The case of New Zealand," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 33-43.
    5. Rebeka Tennent & Stewart Lockie, 2013. "Vale Landcare: the rise and decline of community-based natural resource management in rural Australia," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 56(4), pages 572-587, May.
    6. Brian W Head, 2014. "Evidence, Uncertainty, and Wicked Problems in Climate Change Decision Making in Australia," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 32(4), pages 663-679, August.
    7. Slee, Bill, 2001. "Resolving production-environment conflicts: the case of the Regional Forest Agreement Process in Australia," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1-2), pages 17-30, September.
    8. Brian W Head, 2014. "Evidence, uncertainty, and wicked problems in climate change decision making in Australia," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 32(4), pages 663-679, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Beland Lindahl, Karin & Sandström, Camilla & Sténs, Anna, 2017. "Alternative pathways to sustainability? Comparing forest governance models," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 69-78.
    2. repec:eee:forpol:v:86:y:2018:i:c:p:67-75 is not listed on IDEAS

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