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Making time for space: the critical role of spatial planning in adapting natural resource management to climate change


Adams, VM and Alvarez-Romero, JG and Capon, SJ and Crowley, GM and Dale, AP and Kennard, MJ and Douglas, MM and Pressey, RL, Making time for space: the critical role of spatial planning in adapting natural resource management to climate change, Environmental Science and Policy, 74 pp. 57-67. ISSN 1462-9011 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2017.05.003


Climate change is driving shifts in social-ecological systems globally. In response, humans must adapt to altered climatic and environmental conditions. While climate change adaptation is a pressing issue in many sectors and regions, the adaptation of environmental management strategies is particularly urgent because of the severity and extent of risks associated with projected impacts. Robust adaptation of environmental management requires effective spatial and temporal implementation of interventions, with explicit consideration of trade-offs between different socio-economic and environmental objectives. We investigate the critical interface between regional governance systems and spatial planning for climate adaptation by exploring the case of Australia’s Natural Resource Management (NRM) bodies. Australia’s NRM bodies provide an ideal case study for two reasons. First, Australia faces significant threats from current and future climate changes. Second, Australian NRM bodies have recently undertaken a major program of spatial planning and research to explicitly address the need for climate adaptation. We explore the interface between regional governance systems and spatial planning by: 1) reviewing the historical development of institutional arrangements in relation to spatial planning by Australia’s regional NRM bodies; 2) documenting current planning processes with regard to climate adaptation and more generally; and 3) identifying strengths and weaknesses of the existing governance system at various scales with respect to its ability to foster effective spatial planning. We find that the institutional and resource capacity of the Australian regional NRM bodies is currently being eroded and that the national governance system is broadly failing to deliver on the intended outcomes of climate-ready NRM plans. We make recommendations for governance reform and institutional adaptation to improve spatial planning for climate adaptation in Australia and discuss the broader implications of our findings.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:adaptive governance, conservation planning, natural resource management, climate change
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental Science and Management
Research Field:Environmental Management
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Ecosystem Assessment and Management
Objective Field:Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales
UTAS Author:Adams, VM (Dr Vanessa Adams)
ID Code:126430
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2018-06-12
Last Modified:2018-08-27

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