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Title: Navigating pathways through complex systems of interacting problems: strategic management of native vegetation policy
Contributor(s): Sandall, Jean (author); Cooksey, Ray (supervisor); Wright, Victor  (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: This thesis is about strategic management in natural resource and environmental policy. It is proposed that natural resource and environmental policy is about managing a complex system of changing problems that interact with each other. This means that cause-effect relationships can be circular, dynamic and difficult to identify and that individual problems can be seen as a symptom of many interrelated problems. It also means that small changes in management practices can lead to large and potentially irreversible outcomes, while large changes in management practices can lead to outcomes that are temporary and inconsequential. The thought of managing such systems can become rapidly overwhelming as they are so multifaceted and have such long term and serious consequences; everything is connected to everything else and the more you learn about them the more you realise how much you don't know. Under these conditions it can be difficult to identify which problems and interactions are most important to monitor and address at any given time. Examples of potentially important problems include: balancing multiple and competing community perspectives on what policy goals are important to aim for; co-ordinating the activities of multiple and diverse public and private organisations in the pursuit of policy goals; meeting the expectations of stakeholders in the process of policy formulation and implementation; and managing human-environment interactions when scientific knowledge about the dynamics of ecological systems at different spatial and temporal scales is uncertain and incomplete. These problems can themselves be thought of as sub-systems of interacting problems with constituent problems interacting within and among sub-systems. It is not surprising then that the issue of managing natural resource and environmental systems has become widely regarded as wicked or messy.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Rights Statement: Copyright 2006 - Jean Sandall
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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