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Contested Country

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Contested Country

Local and Regional Natural Resources Management in Australia

Edited by:
Marcus B Lane   CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems
Cathy Robinson   CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems
Bruce Taylor   CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems

264 pages, 248 x 170 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing

    Paperback - 2009
ISBN: 9780643095861 - AU $ 79.95

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In Contested Country, leading researchers in planning, geography, environmental studies and public policy critically review Australia's environmental management under the auspices of the Natural Heritage Trust over the past decade, and identify the challenges that must be met in the national quest for sustainability. It is the first comprehensive, critical examination of the local and regional natural resources management undertaken in Australia, using research sourced from all states as well as the Northern Territory.

It addresses questions such as:
How is accountability to be maintained?
Who is included and who is excluded in decentralised environmental governance?
Does the scale of bottom-up management efforts match the scale of environmental problems?
How is scientific and technical fidelity in environmental management to be maintained when significant activities are devolved to and controlled by local communities?

The book challenges some of the accepted benefits, assumptions and ideologies underpinning regional scaled environmental management, and is a must-read for anyone interested in this field.


  • The first comprehensive, critical examination of the local and regional natural resources management undertaken in Australia
  • Brings together in a purposive, integrated volume, the leading researchers and thinkers in the field
  • Geographic coverage: the research covered in the volume is sourced from all states and the Northern Territory
  • Links the Australian experience with local and regional natural resource management to deeper and more powerful theories and concepts

 View the table of contents. 

  View a sample from Contested Country. 

 "The book not only offers and excellent review of Australian NRM policies but it also provides invaluable lessons for international NRM planning and practice...This book is an informative and critical volume on the subject of NRM."
Lai Ming (Christie), Pacific Conservation Biology, Volume 16 Number 4 2010

"Apart from being utilised by the wider public, this book could be well utilised as a curriculum resource for universities and training institutions in environmental planning, natural resource management, geography, natural and rural systems, sociology and sustainable development. As policy and planning arrangements for community-based NRM in Australia are currently in transition from government to governance, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in Australian environmental policy so as to gain a critical and coherent understanding of the last decade."
Petina Lesley Pert, Ecological Management & Restoration, Vol 12 No 1, April 2011

"The Contested country editors (Marcus Lane, Cathy Robinson and Bruce Taylor) have undertaken an excellent broad-brush analysis, and have successfully rounded up some of the nation's most active research contributors to the field. I recommend all those involved in the delivery of NRM, from the paddock to the most senior levels of government, to use Contested Country to reflect on Australia's most significant national experiment in re-institutionalising and revitalising natural resource management."
Allan Dale, Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, Vol 17 2010

"Contested County unpacks the issues around local and regional NRM clearly and is structured logically from the general to the specific. It offers sound conclusions that are grounded in solid research."
Lou Wilson, Australian Planner, Sept 2010


 Marcus Lane is Research Program Leader in the Social and Economic Sciences program of CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems. He has published over 50 journal articles in peer-reviewed journals, and has authored or edited seven books and monographs.

Cathy Robinson is a Senior Research Scientist who is also in the Resource Futures program of CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems. She has an interest in collaborative and adaptive approaches to environmental governance with a particular interest in northern Australia.

Bruce Taylor is a Researcher at CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems who has worked in regional NRM policy, developed plans for regional bodies and conducted extensive evaluation of NRM arrangements in northern Australia. He has a particular interest in the role of the agricultural sector in NRM governance and regions.

Contributors: Catherine Allan, R.J.S. Beeton, E. Compton, Toni Darbas, Julie Davidson, Megan Farrelly, Anna Haygreen, Brian W. Head, Rosemary Hill, Emma Jakku, Geoffrey Lawrence, Michael Lockwood, Rob de Loe, Richard Margerum, Graham R. Marshall, Tiffany Morrison, K. Prager, Lisa Robins, Timothy F. Smith, Tabatha Wallington, Liana Williams and Jill Woodlands.

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