Social research for Regional Natural Resource Management
National Environmental Research Program (NERP) Landscape and Policy Hub, $175,000
Dr. Christopher Raymond and Prof Allan Curtis
The Lower Hunter region (defined as the area covered by the Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Newcastle and Port Stephens LGAs) is located in Eastern NSW and covers approximately 430,000 hectares, 60% of which is covered in native vegetation. Population growth and demand for residential dwellings is increasing pressure on the region's natural environment. Regional planning authorities have recently commissioned a number of biophysical investigations to examine the impact of new dwellings on the natural environment; however, no studies into community values and preferences have been conducted. The current project addresses this knowledge gap.
This project has three key objectives
A survey instrument and standardised methodology for mapping community values for regional sustainability in other land-use contexts. The journal paper Brown, G and Raymond, C.M. Methods for identifying land-use conflict potential using participatory mapping. Landscape and Urban Planning is under review.
The project will recommend innovative ways for balancing conservation and development in the Lower Hunter, including maps which show the potential for conflict between development and conservation proposals.
Dr Christopher Raymond