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Journal Cover International Journal of Rural Law and Policy
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  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
   ISSN (Print) 1839-745X
   Published by University of Technology Sydney Homepage  [7 journals]
  • Editorial

    • Authors: Paul Vincent Martin
      Abstract: Because of the systemic connections between soils and many other issues, the attention that is actually paid to soil issues is far greater than is immediately apparent. In many countries, scientists, public servants and politicians are debating sequestration of carbon in soils, deforestation and other land management matters which impact the soil, the atmosphere and the human interests bound up in these.This special edition arose from a workshop held in Iceland in 2012, supported by the Australian Research Council and hosted by the Icelandic Soils Service. It brought together researchers and practitioners with expertise and interest in the human dimensions of natural resource governance. An aim was to generate fresh perspectives on how to govern human behaviour, to improve the sustainability and fairness of our use of the land. The team included experts and practitioners in soil issues, community engagement, psychology, sociology, economics, law and other disciplines from many countries. The papers in this special edition reflect issues that have also been canvassed in other investigations. These papers provide some different perspectives as well as reinforcing some common themes.
      PubDate: 2015-07-28
  • Developing a Global Soil Regime

    • Authors: Ben Boer, Ian Hannam
      Abstract: From the 1960s onwards, the global community became more aware of the phenomena of air and water pollution. More recently, the issues of climate change, loss of biodiversity, desertification, drought, and land degradation have become more prominent. While biodiversity loss and climate change have garnered close attention, issues of land degradation and sustainability of soils has attracted less focus in international fora and by national governments. We argue here that soil, as a vital biological and cultural resource, demands attention on the same level as biological diversity and climate change, and that this should be reflected in both international law and in legislation at national level. This article explores the elements that could form the basis of a global instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of soil, and sets out the premise for the community of nations to support the negotiation and drafting of such an instrument. It does so in light of the recent discussion on the introduction of a provision in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on the achievement of zero net land degradation, the revision of the World Soil Charter as well as the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. It also briefly explores other complementary mechanisms that can be used for promoting the sustainable use of soils.
      PubDate: 2015-06-29
  • Designing behaviourally informed policies for land stewardship: A new

    • Authors: Don W Hine, R Crofts, John Becker
      Abstract: This paper argues the case for a new approach to the stewardship of land resources that uses behavioural science theory to support the design and application of policies that facilitate changes in behaviour by those who develop policy and the farmers who implement it. Current approaches have: focused on legally-based expert system; and have been devised by national and international bureaucracies with little or no knowledge of how land owners and managers are motivated, and how they think, behave and operate as stewards of their natural resources. A review of current approaches from the social scientific literature is provided, with a particular focus on principles from social psychology. This is followed by an examination of how these principles can be applied to influence behaviour related to land restoration and soil conservation. Examples of the problems with traditional approaches and the evolution of new approaches with full engagement of farmers as the delivery agents are provided from within the European Union, Iceland and Scotland. In the light of these examples and emerging thinking in other parts of the world, the paper sets out the basis for a new approach based on behavioural science theory and application, reinforcing the arguments already made in the literature for a social license for farming.
      PubDate: 2015-06-29
  • Co-production of knowledge in soils governance

    • Authors: Katrin Prager, Annie McKee
      Abstract: The co-production of knowledge between different actor groups has the potential to generate ‘more socially robust knowledge’ and better decisions, therefore improving governance processes. This paper explores knowledge co-production between different types of actors involved in soils governance in Scotland: policy makers, agency staff, scientists, local authorities, land managers and other stakeholders. In a setting characterised by network governance, we investigate knowledge co-production in three arenas that aimed to implement the Scottish Soil Framework and progress several activities such as a Soil Monitoring Action Plan and the Scotland’s Soils website. Adopting an action research, case study approach, we collected data through document analysis, observation, personal communication with policy actors involved, and semi-structured interviews with soil data users (local authorities, farmers, estate managers). The findings show different levels of interaction in the different arenas, ranging from major interaction and two-way communication to no interaction. The interaction levels indicate the extent to which knowledge exchange has taken place. Analysis highlights the divergence in problem framing between the actor groups, their diverse soil data needs and, therefore, a variation in perceptions of solutions. The combination of co-production in the different arenas enhanced policy actors’ knowledge and allowed them to reconsider policy implementation efforts. However, the delineation of knowledge types remains challenging since the same actor can hold different types of knowledge. We conclude that the concept of knowledge co-production is useful as a frame for developing polycentric, interactive and multi-party processes in soils governance, as well as to identify where interaction requires facilitation and/or improvement, but the concept does not provide a consistent theory.
      PubDate: 2015-06-29
  • Community implementation dynamics: Nutrient management in the New York
           City and Chesapeake Bay Watersheds

    • Authors: Glenn Earl Sterner, Ray Bryant, Peter J A Kleinman, Jack Watson, Theodore R Alter
      Abstract: The creation of natural resource management and conservation strategies can be affected by engagement with local citizens and competing interests between agencies and stakeholders at the varying levels of governance. This paper examines the role of local engagement and the interaction between governance levels on the outcomes of nutrient management policy, a specific area of natural resource conservation and management. Presented are two case studies of the New York City and Chesapeake Bay Watersheds in the US. These case studies touch upon the themes of local citizen engagement and governance stakeholder interaction in changing nutrient management to improve water quality. An analysis of these cases leads to several key considerations for the creation and implementation of nutrient management and natural resource management more broadly, including the importance of: local citizen engagement, government brokering and cost sharing; and the need of all stakeholders to respect each other in the policy creation and implementation process.
      PubDate: 2015-04-08
  • Soil governance in the agricultural landscapes of New South Wales,

    • Authors: Ashley A Webb, Georgina L Kelly, Warwick J Dougherty
      Abstract: Soil is a valuable natural resource. In the state of New South Wales, Australia, the governance of soil has evolved since Federation in 1901. Following rapid agricultural development, and in the face of widespread soil degradation, the establishment of the Soil Conservation Service marked a turning point in the management of soil. Throughout the 20th century, advances in knowledge were translated into evolving governance frameworks that were largely reactionary but saw progressive reforms such as water pollution legislation and case studies of catchment-scale land and vegetation management. In the 21st century, significant reforms have embedded sustainable use of agricultural soils within catchment- and landscape-scale legislative and institutional frameworks. What is clear, however, is that a multitude of governance strategies and models are utilised in NSW. No single governance model is applicable to all situations because it is necessary to combine elements of several different mechanisms or instruments to achieve the most desired outcomes. Where an industry, such as the sugar industry, has taken ownership of an issue such as acid sulfate soil management, self-regulation has proven to be extremely effective. In the case of co-managing agricultural soils with other landuses, such as mining, petroleum exploration and urban development, regulation, compliance and enforcement mechanisms have been preferred. Institutional arrangements in the form of independent commissioners have also played a role. At the landscape or total catchment level, it is clear that a mix of mechanisms is required. Fundamental, however, to the successful evolution of soil governance is strategic investment in soil research and development that informs the ongoing productive use of agricultural landscapes while preventing land degradation or adverse environmental effects.
      PubDate: 2015-03-29
  • Soils Governance in Australia: challenges of cooperative federalism

    • Authors: Jacqueline Williams
      Abstract: This paper analyses soil governance in Australia and the challenges facing sustainable natural resource management within the context of a cooperative system of federation and a globalised market economy. With only 6 per cent of the Australian landmass considered arable, one would assume that protecting Australia’s valuable soil resource would be of national significance. However, Australia currently lacks nationally consistent policies and legal instruments to ensure that its soil is protected, maintained and enhanced for future generations. While recognising that soil governance is a broad discipline encompassing many areas of soil science and management, this discussion will only focus on the soil conservation aspects of sustainable ecosystems and sustainable food and fibre in Australia; it will not explore in depth issues of soil contamination and other pollution related areas. The paper discusses: the state of Australian soils and the managers of these resources; current soil governance in Australia (based on the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations definition); and a case study example of an Australian state approach to landuse conflict and the protection of agricultural lands. The paper highlights policies and institutional arrangements required for the protection of Australian soil and the very communities that are attempting to steward these resources for future generations.
      PubDate: 2015-03-26
  • Soil Governance: Accessing Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives

    • Authors: Tanya Marjoram Howard, Andrew Lawson
      Abstract: Soil provides the foundation for agricultural and environmental systems, and are subject to a complex governance regime of property rights and secondary impacts from industry and domestic land use. Complex natural resource management issues require approaches to governance that acknowledge uncertainty and complexity. Theories of next generation environmental governance assume that inclusion of diverse perspectives will improve reform directions and encourage behaviour change. This paper reports on a qualitative survey of an international workshop that brought together cross-disciplinary perspectives to address the challenges of soil governance. Results reveal the challenges of communicating effectively across disciplines. The findings suggest that strategies for improved soils governance must focus on increasing communications with community stakeholders and engaging land managers in designing shared governance regimes. The need for more conscious articulation of the challenges of cross-disciplinary environments is discussed and strategies for increasing research collaboration in soils governance are suggested. The identified need for more systematic approaches to cross-disciplinary learning, including reporting back of cross-disciplinary initiatives to help practitioners learn from past experience, forms part of the rationale for this paper.
      PubDate: 2014-01-28
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