Dr Sam Wells and Ms Josie McLean from the Business School have been invited by the Environment Institute to be part of a project focusing on the sustainability of rural ‘landscapes’ that includes rural communities. Dr Sam’s and Ms McLean’s contribution is around the facilitation of change towards sustainability.
The project will bring together a group of international and national researchers to a creative workshop that will distil our understanding of how we might bring about transformational change to regional agricultural landscapes. Much work is being done on adaptation of particular species or habitats and adaptation of particular industries or regions to changing environmental pressures. Much less work has been done on the key challenge of leading a change in mindset on how the land for production is being used and increasing endemic biodiversity in a new, more renewable mosaic. There will be a need for insights from ecology, agricultural systems, business, sociology, institutional dynamics, policy development and community expectations, as well as working with the concepts of complex systems in which outcomes cannot be totally controlled and unexpected effects can occur, but a shared vision in a more connected and integrated way can still, perhaps be brought into being.
The intention is to produce an authoritative science policy paper and report to inspire the Australian government to develop a policy whitepaper on navigating transformational change in regional landscapes over the next five decades. Once completed, the report and synthesis paper will be marketed widely with a view to ensuring that the ideas are not forgotten and that chances of a white paper, or equivalent, being prepared are maximised.