Nature strikes back or nature heals? Can perceptions of regrowth in a post-agricultural landscape in South-eastern Australia be used in management interventions for biodiversity outcomes?

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Abstract

Throughout the world spontaneous growth of vegetation (regrowth) often results from land use change such as reduced or ceased agricultural activity. Abundant and extensive regrowth typically has significant implications such as risks to human wellbeing (e.g. wildfire), and opportunities for low cost broad-scale land restoration and biodiversity conservation. Management of regrowth may be contentious due to differing views amongst stakeholders. Developing effective management strategies for biodiversity outcomes requires clear understanding of social perceptions of regrowth. This paper is based upon 53 semi-structured interviews exploring stakeholder perceptions, views and management of regrowth in a post-agricultural landscape in central Victoria, Australia. Aspects of discourse—in particular narratives (themes of discussion) and frames (philosophical perspectives) enabled interpretation of how different stakeholders perceived their changing landscape. Stakeholders typically viewed the shrubby regrowth through one of three frames expressed through a range of narratives that conveyed meaning: “Control”—a negative interpretation of the regrowth, “Accept”—a positive interpretation; and “Ambivalent”—a fusion of the Control and Accept frames. As frames profoundly influence behaviours, we suggest using the frames and narratives identified in the research to develop interventions that enable biodiversity outcomes from the regrowth. Social acceptability of regrowth will be fostered if the interventions acknowledge stakeholder concerns congruent with the three frames identified—in particular as expressed by the ‘use’, ‘nature’ and ‘restoration’ narratives which span the three frames.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-210
Number of pages9
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Volume158
Early online dateNov 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2017

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regrowth
agricultural land
biodiversity
stakeholder
wildfire
land use change
vegetation
cost

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title = "Nature strikes back or nature heals? Can perceptions of regrowth in a post-agricultural landscape in South-eastern Australia be used in management interventions for biodiversity outcomes?",
abstract = "Throughout the world spontaneous growth of vegetation (regrowth) often results from land use change such as reduced or ceased agricultural activity. Abundant and extensive regrowth typically has significant implications such as risks to human wellbeing (e.g. wildfire), and opportunities for low cost broad-scale land restoration and biodiversity conservation. Management of regrowth may be contentious due to differing views amongst stakeholders. Developing effective management strategies for biodiversity outcomes requires clear understanding of social perceptions of regrowth. This paper is based upon 53 semi-structured interviews exploring stakeholder perceptions, views and management of regrowth in a post-agricultural landscape in central Victoria, Australia. Aspects of discourse—in particular narratives (themes of discussion) and frames (philosophical perspectives) enabled interpretation of how different stakeholders perceived their changing landscape. Stakeholders typically viewed the shrubby regrowth through one of three frames expressed through a range of narratives that conveyed meaning: “Control”—a negative interpretation of the regrowth, “Accept”—a positive interpretation; and “Ambivalent”—a fusion of the Control and Accept frames. As frames profoundly influence behaviours, we suggest using the frames and narratives identified in the research to develop interventions that enable biodiversity outcomes from the regrowth. Social acceptability of regrowth will be fostered if the interventions acknowledge stakeholder concerns congruent with the three frames identified—in particular as expressed by the ‘use’, ‘nature’ and ‘restoration’ narratives which span the three frames.",
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