Urbanisation of Rural Lands: Supporting forest management amongst the small-scale rural lifestyle landholders of the Noosa hinterland, south-east Queensland.

John Meadows (2011). Urbanisation of Rural Lands: Supporting forest management amongst the small-scale rural lifestyle landholders of the Noosa hinterland, south-east Queensland. PhD Thesis, School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland.

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Author John Meadows
Thesis Title Urbanisation of Rural Lands: Supporting forest management amongst the small-scale rural lifestyle landholders of the Noosa hinterland, south-east Queensland.
School, Centre or Institute School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-06
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr. Nick Emtage
Assoc. Professor John Herbohn
Total pages 426
Total colour pages 4
Total black and white pages 422
Subjects 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
Abstract/Summary John Meadows s33329325 PhD Thesis Title: Urbanisation of Rural Lands: Supporting forest management amongst the small-scale rural lifestyle landholders of the Noosa hinterland, South-East Queensland. Abstract This thesis has investigated, at a fine-scale, the globally occurring amenity landscape growth phenomenon and the implications for sustainable private forest management and related supportive measures. This topic is significant, given the increasing rates of urbanisation of rural lands throughout the world and the associated losses and degradation of ecosystem services. The research has contributed to numerous gaps in the knowledge base on rural lifestyle landholders (RLLs). More particularly, it has enhanced understanding of the understudied small-scale (i.e. <10ha) RLL sector. These are an increasingly important natural resource management (NRM) stakeholder group throughout amenity landscapes – they exist in large numbers, in aggregate they own large areas of land and forest, they reside in locations with high biodiversity values, and they typically possess little to no NRM expertise. Through investigating their forest-related thoughts, interests, actions, experiences, and assistance needs and preferences, this research has aided the review of existing NRM support programs and the development of new measures targeted at these landholders. The research is a naturalistic empirical investigation, involving in-depth case study analyses. Seventeen small-scale RLL cases (i.e. 0.5 – 6.4ha) from within amenity landscape settings throughout the Noosa hinterland, in south-east Queensland, were investigated. Primary data was gathered from multiple sources, combining an initial questionnaire with follow-up on-site interviews and observations. This resulted in a large and information-rich textual and observational data-set for each participant. The majority of research participants held tertiary-level educational qualifications and were retired or nearing retirement age (i.e. of the baby boomer generation). They own various types of remnant, regrowth and, or, planted forest patches that are commonly in a degraded ecological condition. They were typically motivated into active forest management by various environmental, aesthetic, recreational and property maintenance reduction goals. Their forest management was often constrained by limited knowledge, skills and experience; limited time and finances; and declining physical abilities. Active forest managers who were participating in incentive programs had typically engaged with forest-related extension services and, or, other formal education; were members of environmental community groups and had trusted social networks associated with these; and displayed high levels of environmental awareness and knowledge, and passion and enthusiasm for undertaking on-ground works. A common overarching barrier to participation in incentive programs was a very limited awareness and understanding of their availability and application. Others included time constraints, not knowing a property’s revegetation potential, a perceived irrelevance of farm forestry-focused support, and beliefs that properties were too small to be relevant. Positive outcomes of engaging in support programs included accessing needed advice and labour support; expanding like-minded social networks; being motivated to continue learning about forests and wildlife; and positively influencing neighbours and other landholders to follow the participant’s lead. Notable negative experiences included lapses in assured on-going assistance from an incentive program; feeling marginalised when attending farm forestry extension events; no on-ground assistance accompanying a revegetation grant; and perceived high costs of Landcare consultancy services. The most common information need was to raise awareness and understanding of incentive programs, including how they could assist cooperative, cross-boundary forest management. Others related to aspects of forest establishment and management, and erosion mitigation strategies. Participants typically favoured a cost-share form of incentive program delivered by the local Landcare group and sought free 1-on-1 on-property assessments, follow-up written reports and recommendations, labour support, and other free or subsidised resources. Key communication recommendations emerging from the research include: • developing comprehensive local-level NRM guides and providing these to existing small-scale RLLs and all new ones when properties are purchased; • running community meetings or workshops covering various NRM topics and follow-up field-days based on practical demonstrations of the topics covered; and • promoting the need for active and cooperative cross-boundary management of forest resources, and the associated benefits of these approaches. Key incentive program recommendations include: • assisting landholders to restore and enhance degraded riparian and other Wattle-dominated regrowth forests, mitigate erosion, and establish restoration-style rainforest patches and other multi-purpose agroforestry / food forest systems; • providing free or subsidised trees, mulch, nest-boxes, fencing materials and equipment / machinery hire; and • facilitating cooperative cross-boundary and other peer-based reciprocal forest management advisory and labour support programs, including to better manage commonly-held conservation areas within rural residential estates. The workshops should involve experienced and successful local small-acreage land and forest managers as potential peer mentors and conduits for building learning networks amongst like-minded landholders. Field-days should visit their properties, showcasing them as exemplary case studies that other like-minded landholders could learn from and be inspired by. Such case studies should be written-up for inclusion in the above-noted NRM guides. Although limited by its small number of research participants and small geographical context, many of this study’s findings and recommendations are considered generalisable to similar amenity landscape settings throughout Australia and potentially overseas. They do, however, require testing via sequential quantitative and further qualitative research at both regional and national scales.
Keyword urbanisation, rural lifestyle landholder, natural resource management, small-scale private and active forest management, peri-urban and amenity landscapes, landholder types, NRM support programs, targeting support programs, qualitative research, case study analyses.
Additional Notes 41, 60, 137, 156.

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Created: Wed, 06 Jul 2011, 15:55:59 EST by John Meadows on behalf of Library - Information Access Service