Energy from the Foodbowl: Associated Land-Use Conflicts, Risks and Wicked Problems

Energy from the Foodbowl: Associated Land-Use Conflicts, Risks and Wicked Problems

Source: Landscape and Urban Planning, 2016

Author(s): Jo-Anne Everingham, Nina Collins, Jim Cavaye, Will Rifkin, Sue Vinke, Thomas Baumgartl, and Daniel Rodriguez

Topics: Conflict Causes, Extractive Resources, Governance, Land, Programming

Added: 12/07/2017


This article reports on a study of an agricultural region in southeast Queensland, Australia that is undergoing rapid change with development of an extensive coal seam gas industry and some large open cut coal mines. The region has become a locus of land use conflict between various industries: farming, grazing, mining and gas extraction. The effects of these multiple industries on each other, on environmental assets, infrastructure and economic and social systems entail many risks. Infrastructure shortfalls, a two-speed economy, widening social divisions, threatened livelihoods and stress in the face of rapid and far-reaching change associated with a new industry are evident in the words of those experiencing the impacts that provide the data reported in the paper. These problems are shown to be characterised by connectedness, complexity, uncertainty, disputed science, conflict, multiple stakeholders and an associated multiplicity of perspectives and values. The problem-solving and management strategies being adopted are unlikely to satisfactorily resolve the ‘wicked’ problems associated with this resources boom because they tackle aspects of the problem in a fragmented way, rely on inconclusive ‘science’, cannot readily incorporate hard to quantify aspects, values and subjective considerations, involve a restricted group of key decision-makers, and are dependent on formal rules and planning. The article proposes characteristics of alternative mechanisms involving adaptive risk management and multi-stakeholder participation. However the authors also caution that most of the barriers identified are not easily overcome.


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