Natural resource management

Natural resource management-related research is part of ABARES’ applied social research and analysis. Reports have been prepared for the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, other government agencies, research and development corporations, and industry bodies.

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Australian Forests and Wood Products Statistics: Socio-economic indicators

Published: 20 November 2018

Socio-Economic indicators—trends to 2018 is a chapter in the Australian forest and wood product statistics report series. The latest chapter is presents updated socio-economic indicators and trends for the forestry sector drawn from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2011 and 2016 Census of Population and Housing. These indicators build on the indicators presented in the AFWPS September and December quarters 2012, which reported data from the 2006 and 2011 Censuses.

Socio-economic indicators—trends to 2018

Regional socio-economic profiling of the forestry industry: Recommendations report

Published: 27 November 2014

This recommendations report is the final stage of a three year project ABARES has conducted to address improved reporting on social dimensions of forest and wood products industries (the forestry sector).

The report presents options to address key socio-economic data gaps for the forestry sector. Options include:

  • scoping of a comprehensive national survey of the sector
  • improved coordination that encourages consistency across surveys and funders
  • developing new methods to improve employment data based on nationally representative surveys.

The report also presents an updated framework of indicators used in reporting social dimensions of the forestry sector in the Australian forest and wood products statistics series, and a description of regions for social indicator reporting.

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Regional socio-economic profiling of the forestry industry: Recommendations report PDF 421.4 MB

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Community vulnerability and adaptive capacity in the Murray Darling Basin report – a focus on irrigation in agriculture

Published: 1 December 2012

This project was commissioned to measure the vulnerability, resilience and adaptive capacity of Basin communities to changes in water availability - due to a range of factors - in order to inform Murray-Darling Basin Authority planning and decision-making.

This project reports on community vulnerability in two ways. First, community vulnerability before exposure to any water policy intervention (community vulnerability 'before exposure'); and second, exposure to a 2800 gigalitre sustainable diversion limit (SDL) water recovery scenario assuming 2005-06 commodity prices (community vulnerability 'after exposure').

The analysis of relative community vulnerability with the addition of exposure to the proposed Basin Plan 2800 gigalitre SDL water recovery scenario shows a cluster of communities in the southern Basin that exhibit very high vulnerability rankings. Community vulnerability to other water availability scenarios including 2400 gigalitre and 3200 gigalitre water recovery scenarios was also assessed.

The outputs of the project can be used in several ways - to help policy decision-makers understand the potential impacts and relative vulnerabilities of Basin communities to the proposed Basin Plan, and to work with community decision makers in the Murray-Darling Basin to better understand their circumstances and the factors that contribute to changes in their communities.

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Community vulnerability and adaptive capacity in the Murray Darling Basin report – a focus on irrigation in agriculture PDF 644.4 MB

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Water for what? Productive and environment values for water. Understanding social values

Published: 14 November 2008

This project reviews social research relating to values towards water, particularly the dynamic between environmental and productive values for water and the influence this may have on practice regarding changes to water access.

Part 1 of the report reviews literature about social values for water and provides an evaluation of institutional tools and mechanisms by which water values are negotiated in practice.

Part 2 builds on this work and investigates how values for water were negotiated in three empirical case studies of water allocation changes in rural and regional Australia.

The purpose of this discussion paper is to synthesise the key points from two reports prepared for the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts:

  • Assessing a community’s capacity to manage change: A resilience approach to social assessment and
  • Water for what? Productive and environmental values for water.

The reports investigate the values people hold for water and how this influences responses to changes in access to and allocations of water and include three case studies.

It is recommended that this discussion paper is read in conjunction with these two reports.

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Water for what - discussion_paper PDF 210.1 MB

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An analysis of the social aspects of establishing agricultural recycled water schemes - social perspectives on water

Published: 9 October 2008

The purpose of this study was to develop a better understanding of the opportunities and constraints to recycled water investment in rural and regional areas of Australia for agricultural irrigation use.

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An analysis of the social aspects of establishing agricultural recycled water schemes - social perspectives on water PDF 600.6 MB

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Understanding landholders' capacity to change to sustainable practices

Published: 1 July 2002

Problems such as land salinisation and declining water quality have become of increasing concern to the Commonwealth Government.
The Commonwealth Government has increased its programs aimed at bringing about more sustainable land use.

Many of these programs seek to change the management behaviour of landholders.

From both a policy-development and a scientific perspective it is important to understand how people conceive of and respond to the need for sustainable land use.

This publication synthesises recent research by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, supported by the Social and Institutional Research Program of Land and Water, and the National Land and Water Resources Audit, on the capacity of landholders to adopt sustainable practices.

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Understanding landholders' capacity to change to sustainable practices PDF 778.4 MB

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Drivers of practice change in land management in Australian agriculture: Synthesis report-Stages I, II and III

Published: 26 June 2014

Overview

This study was commissioned by the Sustainable Resource Management Division of the Department of Agriculture (through the Caring for Our Country initiative) and focuses on the key factors landholders consider when making decisions to adopt specific land management practices. The management practices examined included best practice for cropping, grazing, management of native vegetation and management of weeds of national significance across broadacre, dairy and horticulture industries. This report presents a synthesis of results from the project including results from a national survey conducted in 2012-13 and comparison of these results with previously reported results from the same survey conducted in 2010-11.

Key Issues

This study captured information on influences on uptake of recommended farm management practices including information on the degree to which financial motivations interact with environmental factors and personal motivations. Key results included:

  • most farmers were influenced by a multiplicity of motivations relating to financial, personal and environmental goals
  • both financial benefits and environmental factors rated highly in influencing land and soil management practice decisions
  • personal motivations which included a range of individual, family and community related motivations were of less influence, but still were important to some
  • farmer production groups and landcare groups were selected by the majority of respondents as the most important source of support for land and soil management decisions.

The report also details profiles of adopters versus non adopters for each of the management practices investigated.

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Drivers of practice change in land management in Australian agriculture: Synthesis report-Stages I, II and III PDF 1322.6 MB

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Providing social data to underpin catchment planning in the Glenelg Hopkins region

Published 2004

This report presents findings from a mail survey of 1,943 landholders in the Glenelg Hopkins region in 2003. The survey focussed on gathering base-line information regarding the key social and economic factors affecting landholder decision making about the adoption of practices expected to improve the management of natural resources in the Glenelg Hopkins region. The Glenelg Hopkins CMA and the Bureau of Rural Sciences were the key project partners.

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Providing social data to underpin catchment planning in the Glenelg Hopkins region PDF 1482.6 MB

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Providing social and economic data to support regional natural resource management in the Burnett Mary region

Published 2004

This report presents a summary of key findings from a mailed survey to 1,000 landholders in the Burnett Mary region in 2004. The final response rate for this survey was 60 per cent. The survey gathered base-line information regarding the key social and economic factors affecting landholder decision-making about the adoption of practices expected to improve the management of natural resources in the Burnett Mary region.

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Providing social and economic data to support regional natural resource management in the Burnett Mary region PDF 942.6 MB

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Benchmarking community attitudes towards natural resource management in the Lachlan Catchment

Published: 15 September 2006

This report presents a summary of key findings from a mailed survey to 1000 landholders in the Lachlan Catchment in 2003.
The survey focussed on gathering base-line information regarding the key social and economic factors affecting landholder decision-making about the adoption of practices expected to improve the management of natural resources in the Lachlan Catchment.

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Benchmarking community attitudes towards natural resource management in the Lachlan Catchment PDF 912.6 MB

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Socioeconomic indicators for natural resource management

Published: 22 November 2004

In this report, the National Land and Water Resources Audit has commissioned ABARE to review socioeconomic indicators relating to agricultural land managers. The focus is on indicators of the capacity and willingness of landholders to adopt sustainable farming and improved business management practices.

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Socioeconomic indicators for natural resource management PDF 312.6 MB

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Last reviewed:
02 Apr 2019