ANU Fenner School of Environment & Society

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The Fenner School of Environment & Society was founded in 2007 with the merger of the School for Resources, Environment & Society (SRES) with the Centre for Resource & Environmental Studies (CRES).

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Constructing Influence Diagrams & Causal Loop Diagrams
    (2020-02-23) Proust, Katrina; Newell, Barry
    Causal diagrams, as used in the field of System Dynamics, are important tools for describing the structure of feedback systems. While they cannot be used to infer the dynamics of a system, they provide a powerful way to capture and communicate mental models and other hypotheses about the causes of observed behaviour. The construction of causal diagrams requires an approach that is more disciplined than the usual mind-mapping exercise, while still allowing flexible expression of ideas. The basic ideas described briefly in this guide are intended as an introduction to the art and science of causal-diagram construction. We provide instructions for constructing influence diagrams (IDs) and causal loop diagrams (CLDs).
  • ItemOpen Access
    Spatial analysis of logging on steep slopes across Special Water Supply Catchment areas in the Central Highlands of Victoria : A summary of the submission provided to the audit of VicForests' logging operations against the FSC Controlled Wood Standard for Forest Management Enterprises
    (Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, 2019-12) Taylor, Chris; Lindenmayer, David B.
    In November 2019, the Victorian Government announced logging across the state’s native forests would close by 2030 (1). Following on, the Victorian Government’s logging business, VicForests, was assessed by accredited auditors against the Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC) Controlled Wood Standard (2). The FSC is widely recognized as a leading forest certification scheme, on the basis that it enjoys support from a wide range of environmental, social and economic interests (3). The FSC label has grown considerably across the world (4), with leading brands featuring the FSC logo on many of their products (5). VicForests has recognized this market push and it has made several unsuccessful attempts to meet FSC Controlled Wood Standard for Forest Management Enterprises (FSC-STD-30-010 V2.0) (6) as well as the more rigorous FSC forest management certification standard (7). In November 2019, VicForests made another attempt at meeting FSC-STD-30-010 V2.0, which requires forest management companies to not illegally log forests, to not violate civil or traditional rights, not threaten high conservation value forests, not convert native forests to plantations or other non-forest uses and to not use genetically modified trees (6). It was audited by SCS Global Services, an accredited FSC certification body. In the lead up to this FSC Controlled Wood audit, we prepared a submission detailing where logging had occurred on steep slopes across declared Special Water Supply Catchments in the Central Highlands of Victoria. We argued that this practice compromises the integrity of these catchments. Under the FSC system, we argue that these forests would qualify as High Conservation Value (HCV) forests. Under HCV Category 4 (HCV4), the FSC Australia HCV Evaluation Framework states that a forest can be classified as high conservation value if it provides basic ecosystem services in critical situations, including where forests protect water catchments and control erosion of vulnerable soils and slopes (8). The Framework listed an ecosystem service is considered to be ‘critical’ where a disruption of that service is likely to cause or pose a threat of severe negative impact on the welfare, health or survival of local communities, on the environment or on other High Conservation Values (8). The FSC-STD-30-010 V2.0 Standard requires that forest management operations maintain and not threaten these and other high conservation values. The logging of forests on steep slopes risks the occurrence of erosion, which is simply the transport of soil constituents by natural forces, primarily water and wind (9). Soils on steep slopes are vulnerable to erosion due increased flows of water across the surface and the increased effect of gravity. As the slope becomes steeper, the effect of gravity on soil particles to move downslope increases (10). Disturbed forest areas are also vulnerable to increased erosion. Soil erosion rates across undisturbed forested catchments may be around 0-1 t/ha/year. In contrast, erosion rates following a disturbance, such as a fire, may range between 10-50 t/ha/year (11).
  • ItemOpen Access
    Resource Conflict Across Melbourne’s Largest Domestic Water Supply Catchment
    (The Australian National University. Fenner School of Environment and Society, 2018) Taylor, Chris; Blair, David P; Keith, Heather; Australian National University. Fenner School of Environment and Society; Lindenmayer, David B
    Quantifying the effects of competition for natural resources between different sectors and interests is a key part of natural resource management globally. A major form of land use conflict in natural forests is between water production and timber production. Here we explore trade-offs in water yield resulting from logging in the forested water catchments north-east of Melbourne – the second largest urban settlement in Australia with a current population of five million. It has long been understood that logging significantly decreases water yields in Melbourne’s water catchments. However, the extent of losses of water yield from past logging have rarely been documented. Here, we model changes in water yield in Melbourne’s largest single catchment, the Thomson Catchment, resulting from: (1) past forest management activities (especially clearfell logging), and (2) future forest management scenarios. Our particular focus was on the effects of logging on water yields from ash-type eucalypt forests. This is because these areas have the greatest impact on water runoff due to them receiving the most rainfall and being the forest types subject to the most intensive and extensive industrial logging. We modelled four key scenarios:  Scenario (1) Historical logging of the Thomson Catchment with continued logging in the future (current reality/status quo);  Scenario (2) If there had been no logging and none was planned (past, present or future) in the Thomson Catchment;  Scenario (3) Logging ceasing in 1967 (as specified under the first Wood Pulp Agreement Act 1936 – but which never occurred); and  Scenario (4) Impacts of the past logging, but with cessation of logging in 2018. Our initial spatial analysis revealed that 42% of the ash-type eucalypt forests in the Thomson Catchment have been logged. Moreover, there are 4,000 hectares of Ash forest assigned for logging in the next 5 years under the existing Timber Release Plan for the Central Highlands region. Our analyses revealed that the current (in 2018) reduction in water yield due to historical logging of the ash forests across the Thomson Catchment exceeds 15,000 ML annually. This loss is projected to increase to nearly 35,156 ML by 2050. Under Scenario (3), where logging would have ceased in 1967 if the first Wood Pulp Agreement 1936 was implemented, the loss in water yield by 2018 was projected to be 1,079 ML, annually. This loss is a result of logging occurring prior to 1967. This was modelled to remain constant through to 2050. Under Scenario (4), where logging ceases in 2018, we projected that approximately 20,149 ML would have been returned to the Thomson Catchment by 2050 compared with Scenario (2) of no historical logging. Losses in water yield as a result of logging correspond to 9%-20% of the ash forest catchment water yield for 2018 and 2050, respectively. Based on an estimated consumption of 161 litres of water per person per day, the loss in water yield resulting from logging would equate to the lost water for nearly 600,000 people by 2050. Given the strategic importance of water from the Thomson Catchment, our analyses suggest that native forest logging should be excluded from this catchment, particularly in the context of increasing human consumption of water and decreasing stream inflows from the catchments. Previous work has shown that the economic value of the water across all of Melbourne’s Water Catchments, including the Thomson Catchment, is 25.5 times greater than the economic value of the timber produced from the all native forests, based on integrated economic and environmental accounting (e.g. under the System of Environmental and Economic Accounting [SEEA] developed by the United Nations). It is not the difference in value between water and timber that is important, it is the change due to the use of an ecosystem service, resulting in the reduction of water yield. Therefore, we suggest that ongoing logging of the Thomson Catchment, when it is known to reduce water yields, is a questionable natural resource management policy.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Understanding Public Participation in Forest Planning in Australia: How Can We Learn From Each Other?
    (Canberra, ACT: Forestry, The Australian National Unniversity, 1999) Buchy, Marlene; Hoverman, S; Averill, C
    A round table discussion on public participation in forest planning, during a meeting of the Forest Planners Working group in February 1997 at the ANU, revealed a wealth of unexplored and unrecorded experiences of public participation across the country. It became clear that public participation, which is a legal requirement in most states, was perceived and implemented in different ways by different government agencies to various degrees of success. The first author who attended part of the meeting, could sense some ambient frustration at the ever increasing energy and resources devoted by the various forest agencies to involve the public in planning matters, while the very same 'public' never seemed to be satisfied and was making more and more unreasonable demands. Subsequent discussions with NRE Victoria, DNR Queensland, Forestry Tasmania and CALM WA reiterated that a collaborative effort to systematically record and analyse the experiences of public participation in forestry planning could deliver concrete learning outputs valid for all. Thanks to a grant from NRE Victoria, DNR Queensland and the ANU we designed a research program. It was based on reviewing relevant literature on participatory management processes and conducting field surveys to 1) develop an analytical framework , 2) record field realities in 4 states Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia 3) analyse the processes in those states and 4) put forward ideas and recommendations for further consultation processes. This paper reports on the various findings of the study.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Listening to Women's Voices in the Australian Forestry Workforce
    (Canberra, ACT: Forestry, The Australian National Unniversity, 2001) Buchy, Marlene
    Forestry is one of the last bastions of male dominance in the professions; despite the fact that women have graduated from the two Australian Forestry schools since the 1970s only a handful of women have been working for a State forest agency for more than 15 years. Women on average tend to leave the profession after 5 years or so (Crompton 2000); this is a concern for organisations which, despite equal employment opportunity policies fail to retain a gender diversity in their workforce. Quote 1 suggests that women who leave the profession don't necessarily leave the workforce, but just leave forestry. This study started on the assumption that if female foresters tended to leave the profession, it was because they did not feel comfortable in their workplace and more specifically that the gender differences and the relationships between the genders may be at the root of the problem. Being a traditionally exclusive male territory, could it be culturally and structurally difficult for one gender to make place for the other and a new organisational culture to emerge from the diversity? Numerous scholars have argued that there is no such thing as "gender neutral" organisations and that historically organisations having been set up by men were fundamentally women-unfriendly places to work in (Aker 1990, Burton 1991, Cockburn 1991, Witz 1992). Based on women's perceptions of their workplace, professional practice and aspirations this study attempts to list and understand the diversity of issues faced by female foresters. Although no doubt some of those issues will be shared by their male colleagues, this paper aims at taking stock of gender related issues in the forestry profession.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Variable Retention Harvest System and its implications for biodiversity in the Mountain Ash forests of the Central Highlands of Victoria
    (Canberra, ACT: The Fenner School of Environment & Society, The Australian National University) Lindenmayer, David B
    This report was commissioned by the Victorian Government through the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) in mid-2006. The aim of the report was to describe the impacts of timber harvesting activities on biodiversity in native forests. It was to focus on these impacts at a landscape level and describe opportunities for improving biodiversity and other outcomes through alternative approaches to timber harvesting. The report focuses on the highlyproductive, wet ash-type eucalypt forests of the Central Highlands of Victoria. The alternative silvicultural system described in this report is referred to as the Variable Retention Harvest System (VRHS) and involves the retention of strategic elements of the forest from one rotation to the next. The VRHS aims to maintain ecological functionality at a landscape level and is based on insights into ecologically appropriate harvesting methods being developed and adopted in the Pacific-Northwest of North America.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Risks of fire and the management of catchments for timber production and urban water supply
    (Canberra, ACT: Center for Resource and Environmental Studies (CRES), The Australian National University, 2005-12) McCarthy, Michael A; Lindenmayer, David B
    While previous studies have examined how forest management is influenced by the risk of fire, they rely on probabilistic estimates of the occurrence and impacts of fire. However, nonprobabilistic approaches are required for assessing the importance of fire risk when data are poor but risks are appreciable. We explore impacts of fire risk on forest management using as a case study a water catchment in the Australian Capital Territory (south-eastern Australia). In this forested area, urban water supply and timber yields from exotic plantations are potential joint but also competing land uses. Our analyses were stimulated by extensive wildfires in early 2003 that burned much of the existing exotic pine plantation estate in the water catchment and the resulting need to explore the relative economic benefits of revegetating the catchment with exotic plantations or native vegetation. The current mean fire interval in the ACT is approximately 40 years, making the establishment of a pine plantation economically marginal at a 4% discount rate. However, the relative impact on water yield of revegetation with native species and pines is very uncertain, as is the risk of fire under climate change. We use info-gap decision theory to account for these nonprobabilistic sources of uncertainty, demonstrating that the decision that is most robust to uncertainty is highly sensitive to the cost of native revegetation. If costs of native revegetation are sufficiently small, this option is more robust to uncertainty than revegetation with a commercial pine plantation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Forestry for Indigenous peoples: Learning From Experiences With Forest Industries
    (Canberra, ACT: The Fenner School of Environment & Society, The Australian National University, 2005) Feary, Sue
    Papers from Technical Session 130, XXII IUFRO World Congress 2005, 8-13 August 2005, Brisbane, Australia
  • ItemOpen Access
    Institutional Change and Learning for Sustainable Development
    (Canberra, ACT: Center for Resource and Environmental Studies (CRES), The Australian National University, 2002) Connor, R. D; Dovers, S. R
    This paper is an interim outcome of Land and Water Australia Project ANU-24 'Implications for Australian natural resource management of international experiences in institutional change and reform arising from sustainable development' being undertaken through the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, The Australian National University. In summary, the aim of the project is to explore operational institutional lessons of relevance to Australia, gleaned from institutional change in other countries driven by the post-WCED (1987) and UNCED (1992) policy agenda of sustainable development. The primary output of the project is a brief (~20 page) report with a target audience of the NRM policy community, stakeholders and NGOs, supplemented by explanatory material, background papers, case studies, data bases, etc. as required. Clearly a review of institutional change around the world over the period 1987-2001 represents a mammoth task, and thus this study must scan widely and then scope more narrowly.
  • ItemOpen Access
    5th Jack Westoby Lecture: Broad development strategies: making room for forestry
    (Canberra, ACT : Dept. of Forestry, School of Resource Management and Environmental Science, The Australian National University, 2005) El-Lakany, Hosny
  • ItemOpen Access
    3rd Jack Westoby Lecture: The Tropical Forests Dilemna
    (Canberra, ACT : Dept. of Forestry, School of Resource Management and Environmental Science, The Australian National University, 2001) Filho, Manoel Sobral
  • ItemOpen Access
    6th Jack Westoby Lecture: Forests - the poor man's overcoat: foresters as agents of change?
    (Canberra, ACT : Dept. of Forestry, School of Resource Management and Environmental Science, The Australian National University, 2007) Hobley, Mary
  • ItemOpen Access
    2nd Jack Westoby Lecture: Tropical Forests: Who wants them?
    (Canberra, ACT : Dept. of Forestry, School of Resource Management and Environmental Science, The Australian National University, 1999) Douglas, Jim
  • ItemOpen Access
    Inaugural Jack Westoby Lecture: A man for all forests
    (Canberra, ACT : Dept. of Forestry, School of Resource Management and Environmental Science, The Australian National University, 1997) Cullity, Denis
  • ItemOpen Access
    Farm Forestry for Green & Gold: Australian experiences of linking biodiversity to commercial forestry.
    (Canberra, ACT: School of Resources, Environment and Society, The Australian National University, 2003) Race, Digby; Freudenberger, David
    This publication his arisen from an 18-month project funded by the Commonwealth’s Natural Heritage Trust through Environment Australia’s Bushcare Program during 2001-‘02. The project brought together are range of research scientists, extension officers, extension officers, project officers and others interested in exploring how forestry can combine commercial and biodiversity goals – a ‘win win’ situation for forest growers and the environment. Many landholders and forest growers around Australia are already making forestry achieve this ‘win win’ goal. This publication has profiled 8 of these landholders and growers, so we can learn from their experiences and the latest research on native biodiversity. We felt it important to have the experiences of the 8 case studies told with, and by, extension officers who work closely with the landholders and growers. These extension officers all have many years of experience about how best to create forestry that provides a ‘win win’ outcome in the local context, and combine diverse backgrounds (see ‘Biographies of authors’)
  • Item
    The writing of A Million Wild Acres
    (Fenner School of Environment & Society. Australian National University, 2001) Griffiths, Thomas
    Soon after A MilRon Wild Acres was published in 1981, I read the book and realised that I had encountered something momentous. I felt as Les Murray did when he wrote of RoUs's book that he read and re-read it 'with all the delight of one who knows he has at last got hold of a book that is in no way alien to him' (Murray 1997: 158). I was living in Melbourne and I was moved to write to the author, whom I had not met and could hardly dream of ever meeting, and who seemed to me to live in an extraordinary, magical and especially dynamic place. It was slightiy mystifying because I recalled once as a child in the 1960s being driven through Coonabarabran, and I could remember the vast tracts of the Pilliga Scmb (as it was disdainfijlly called) rolling endlessly past the car window. It had not seemed extraordinary, magical and especially dynamic then. Had it changed? Had I changed? Had this man's book opened my eyes? All of the above. I had never before realised how strongly words on a page could animate actuality.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Perfumed pineries: environmental history of Australia's Callitris forests
    (Canberra, ACT : Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies (CRES), The Australian National University, 2001) Dargavel, John; Hart, Diane; Libbis, Brenda
    The perfumed pineries have survived heat, aridity and cold in Australia for at least a million years. They range from semi-arid scrublands to tropical woodlands. The first people named the trees: munlarru, marung, marinhi, pimba or binba, gurraay, jinchilla, karapaarr and puratharr, kulilypuru or kuli, kamtirrikani, and more, each particular to people and place. European settiers called them pine: Oyster Bay, Port Macquarie, Murray River, white, black and several more. Botanists placed them in a genus they first called Frenela. Now it is Callitris with fifteen species spread across Australia and two in New Caledonia. They yield termite-resistant timber for houses, fences, poles or mines. They produce blue and green oils for aromatherapy and a resin whose collection, we think, once prompted the famous forester, Harold Swain, to call them the 'perfumed pineries' of our tide. Their greatest forest is the Pilliga of New South Wales—A Million Wild Acres to the many readers of Eric Rolls' evocative history.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Australia's ever-changing forests: Conference Proceedings of the National Conferences on Australian forest history, 1988-2002.
    (Campbell, ACT: Dept of Geography and Oceanography, University College, Australian Defence Force Academy) National Conference on Australian Forest History.
    In 1987, a number of people with various interests in Australian forests and woodlands met at the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies at the Australian National University to consider the foundation of an Australian Forest History Society and sponsorship of an inaugural conference on Australian forest history in 1988. The resultant 1st national conference was held at the ANU Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Canberra, 9-11 May 1988. The 2nd national conference was held at the Victorian School of Forestry in Creswick, Victoria on 3-5 December 1992. The 3rd national conference was convened by the Australian Forest History Society at Jervis Bay, 24-27 November 1996. The 4th National Conference was held in the country of the Gubbi Gubbi people at Gympie in Queensland on 19-22 April 1999. The 5th national conference of the Society was held in Tasmania in February 2002. These are the proceedings emanating from these conferences. They have been reproduced with the permission of the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society as print copies are no longer available.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The effects of buy-back programs in the British Columbia Salmon Fishery
    (Canberra, ACT: Economics and Environment Network, The Australian National University) Nelson, Harry W; Grafton, Quentin
    Policymakers have implemented five distinct buybacks of either vessels or salmon licenses over the past three decades in the British Columbia (BC) salmon fishery. The earliest buyback was one of the first of its kind in any fishery and the most recent buyback is one of the largest ever in terms of reducing vessel numbers and the funds used. This paper reviews the circumstances under which these buybacks were conducted with an emphasis on their impact on reducing fishing capacity and effort. The focus is on the two most recent buybacks that took place in 1996 and 1998-2000, what has been learned and what they have achieved.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Institutions for sustainability
    (Canberra, ACT: Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, The Australian National University) Dovers, Stephen
    This paper discusses the nature of sustainability and the institutional arrangements that can help or hinder the pursuit of a future society that is both ecologically sustainable and humanly desirable. All collective efforts are mediated through institutions, and without institutional change we will not move purposefully toward sustainability. Although there has been much policy development under the banner of ‘ecologically sustainable development’ (ESD) in recent years in Australia, institutional change remains at the margins of public policy and administration. The paper considers how this situation can be rectified. The characteristics of ESD problems are discussed, such as spatial and temporal scale, complexity and uncertainty, and the need for community participation. The paper then uses an ‘adaptive’ approach to frame the requirements of institutions for sustainability, suggesting the core principles of persistence, purposefulness, information-richness, inclusiveness and flexibility. The strengths and limits of some current arrangements are assessed, and then particular attention is given to a selection of current institutional arrangements that fulfil at least some of the requirements for an adaptive approach. Finally, suggestions are given for institutional reforms to establish ESD as a policy field that enjoys parity with other, at present more influential and well-supported fields. Specific recommendations include: • A wide ranging legislative review to recommend changes to laws that hinder or do not promote ESD - analagous to the competition policy legislative review; • A National Commission or Council for ESD to promote discussion and cooperative action between the three levels of government, the private sector and community groups; • A Commissioner for ESD or Offices for ESD to ensure implementation of ESD policies in government agencies; • An Australian Institute for ESD to generate new ideas, inform cooperative policy development, develop standards, prepare manuals and run training courses – similar to the role played by the Australian Emergency Management Institute for emergency management; Without institutional change we will not move purposefully toward sustainability. • Long term support for Landcare and similar groups to encourage and support commitment to ESD practices from local communities; • Much increased support for long term ecological research and monitoring; • A Bureau of Ecological Economics together with changes in the mandate and functions of mainstream economic agencies to ensure that alternative economic analyses based on ecological perspectives are taken into account in policy making.