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Alternative Landscape Futures

A model for minimizing the impacts of pesticides on the riverine environment

Dr David Brunckhorst, Dr Phil Morley

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Alternative Landscape Futures (ALF) analysis is a long-term, large area, land and environment assessment approach for assisting communities and policy makers make decisions about planning the future of that area. It provides a spatially explicit, regional scale perspective on the combined effects of the multiple policies, plans, population and land use pressures affecting the availability of natural resources and ecosystem services for a geographic area.

The Alternative Landscape Futures approach presented here contributes new tools, knowledge and, potentially a wide range of applications to guide policy and planning of future sustainable landscapes across rural and regional Australia. These are demonstrated through an, in itself useful and practical, case study of north-eastern New South Wales — an area facing enormous ‘Sea Change’ development, urbanisation and consequent land use and landscape change.

Which future is most desirable, most sustainable? By capturing the essential elements of a very complex debate about regional development and sustainability, including the regional context specific views of communities (in the current study from several past, highly consultative regional strategies), a relatively small number of geographically meaningful future scenarios can be generated. These can then be objectively assessed in terms of the consequences of each choice in changing the regional landscapes in the medium to long term. The outcomes provide a much clearer picture of the future for communities, planners and policy makers to move towards a common understanding, possible resolution, and decisive action towards more sustainable futures.

The approach and methodology developed through this project contribute a timely, Australia specific approach and design principles for:

  1. Understanding past change and current trends and the relationship to future probable trajectories for regional landscapes;
  2. Developing alternative landscape futures scenarios designed to meet different community expectations;
  3. Spatially explicit visualisation of future trajectories of likely land use change and (plausible) designed alternative landscape futures;
  4. Evaluation of the resultant landscape change of current trends and alternatives likely to take place over the next 20 to 40 years, i.e. the long-term effects of design elements (including current trends and policy directions and alternative landscape designs).
PN30069.pdf9.43 MB

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Dr David Brunckhorst, Dr Phil Morley
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Land and Water Australia

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id: 3344 / created: 30 April, 2009 / last updated: 07 July, 2009