We define regional sustainability to mean that the social, economic
and ecological systems of a region persist indefinitely (see Design
for Resilience) without a downward trend in human welfare, degradation
of land and water resources, or reduction of options for future
generations. Seen in these terms, human use of the NSW rangelands
has not been sustainable.
Historical trends are important in providing a context for the
development and use of the region. Our analysis gives information
on the development of water points, expansion of pastoralism, changes
in livestock numbers, wool production, and regional development.
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Developing a mapping base in a critical component of any land use
planning exercise. Key decisions are needed in the selection of
mapping units. Our development of the map base included generation
of line work, subdivision of existing data covers, reduction in
line resolution while maximising representation of small map units,
and selection of the map projection.
the itemised list of land attributes.
We used the SIRO-MED process to establish the value of land for
various uses. Stakeholders identified actual or potential land uses
and told us what characteristics of the land made it more or less
suitable for each use. Researchers wrote rules for estimating the
suitability of land for land uses, and collected data required by
the rules. For example, a rule about Aboriginal spiritual value
required data about cultural heritage; a rule about dryland cropping
needed data on climate and soils. We used WinLUPIS software to generate
maps of 'suitability' or 'land use value' from the rules and data.
Fifty five such maps were generated, one for each potential land
use. Each map was discussed with the stakeholder group advocating
it, and rules were modified until the map accorded with stakeholders'
knowledge of the land and the land use.
the results from the stakeholders' land uses.
There are land use conflicts in the Western Division among Aboriginal
peoples, the agro-pastoral and the conservation sectors. We explored
conflicts for all sectors by asking stakeholders which pairs of
land uses could coexist on the same tract of land. These were presented
in matrix form to express the levels of compatibility.
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Part of the visioning process was the creation of future social,
economic and land use scenarios (Third Milestone Report, March
2000). Together with an economic modeller
(using an input-output model), we generated scenarios favouring
the interests of each stakeholder sector in turn. We estimated impacts
of growth in each stakeholder sector on flows of money through the
regional economy, household incomes, employment, welfare payments,
soil erosion hazard, shrub encroachment, carbon storage and biodiversity.
We also explored the implications of climatic change. Outputs were
communicated to policy makers so they could take the implications
into account in the analysis of current policies and laws, and the
design of changes.
In keeping with the theory of Psychology
underpinning the project, policy makers from 47 organisations were
invited to participate in the analysis and design of laws and policies
to enhance the sustainability of the Western Division. They participated
in the building of a systems model of the laws, policies, physical
and economic constraints that determine land allocation within the
When understanding of policies, laws and organisations was sufficient,
researchers and policy makers proposed
changes. They were encouraged
to incorporate principles of design
for resilience into their proposals. They worked in five groups,
each representing the interests of one stakeholder sector. Once
preliminary changes to laws and policies had been drafted, each
policy group commented on the changes proposed by other groups from
the perspective of the stakeholder sector it represented. Each policy
group also suggested modifications that would reduce negative impacts
on other stakeholder groups, and enhance positive effects. Taking
such an holistic approach is a significant improvement over the
traditional agency based approach of restricting the analysis to
those policies and laws for which one agency is directly responsible.
Each participant, whether stakeholder or policy maker, filled in
a questionnaire at the first and subsequent workshops, and gave
us the name and address of a "twin" a person with
similar profession, background and values who is not involved in
the project. The twin was approached by 'phone and asked to fill
in the same questionnaire. Stakeholders and their control group
answered questionnaires during workshops in 1997 and 1999. Participants
in the institutional change process (the policy makers) and their
control group completed questionnaires during workshops in 1997
and 2000. The results were compared at the end of the
project and presented as part of the final