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Fit-for-purpose institutions? An evaluation of biodiversity conservation in the agricultural landscape of the Tasmanian Midlands, Australia


Clement, S and Moore, SA and Lockwood, M and Mitchell, M, Fit-for-purpose institutions? An evaluation of biodiversity conservation in the agricultural landscape of the Tasmanian Midlands, Australia, Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 19, (2) pp. 135-155. ISSN 1523-908X (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Informa UK

DOI: doi:10.1080/1523908X.2016.1162708


Biodiversity loss is a globally significant problem. Institutional failure to halt this loss suggests current arrangements are not fit for the purpose of conserving biodiversity. The objective of this paper is to diagnose institutional fitness for conserving biodiversity in the Tasmanian Midlands of Australia, a highly modified agricultural landscape with critically endangered biodiversity values. This paper presents and applies a novel diagnostic framework that adopts a broad view of institutional fit, drawing on concepts from adaptive governance, institutional theory, and public administration, and finds four areas of poor fit that can guide reform efforts. The first is a narrow framing of biodiversity objectives, leading to neglect of key social and ecological concerns. Second, the interplay of current arrangements fails to buffer key economic and political drivers, and compromises adaptive capacity. Third, limited government authority and embedded power relations raise questions about the effectiveness and fairness of current approaches. Finally, the reluctance of governments to devolve authority and decision-making powers to self-organizing networks constrains adaptation. This suite of fit problems constrains achievement of biodiversity conservation, particularly in dealing with landscape multifunctionality, the need to balance private landholder rights and responsibilities, and the need to consider how to respond to emerging novel and hybrid ecosystems.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:biodiversity conservation, multifunctional landscapes, adaptive governance, institutional diagnosis, framing
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Rehabilitation or conservation of terrestrial environments
UTAS Author:Lockwood, M (Associate Professor Michael Lockwood)
UTAS Author:Mitchell, M (Dr Michael Mitchell)
ID Code:110706
Year Published:2017 (online first 2016)
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2016-08-10
Last Modified:2017-11-01

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