Institutions to sustain ecological and social systems

Authors

  • David J. Brunckhorst


  • David Brunckhorst is Director, Institute for Rural Futures and Co-Director, UNESCO Centre for Bioregional Resource Management (University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia. Tel: +61 2 6773 3001, Email: dbrunckh@metz.une.edu.au). This paper reviews some theoretical concepts necessary for better matching human systems and land management systems to the scales and needs of ecosystems. Two applied research projects demonstrating ‘on-ground’ application stem from these theoretical underpinnings and will be reported in the near future.

David Brunckhorst is Director, Institute for Rural Futures and Co-Director, UNESCO Centre for Bioregional Resource Management (University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia. Tel: +61 2 6773 3001, Email: dbrunckh@metz.une.edu.au). This paper reviews some theoretical concepts necessary for better matching human systems and land management systems to the scales and needs of ecosystems. Two applied research projects demonstrating ‘on-ground’ application stem from these theoretical underpinnings and will be reported in the near future.

Abstract

Summary The foundation for a sustainable future is the continuation of ecological processes and functions across landscapes dominated by human activity; whether hunter-gathering, agriculture, pastoralism, suburban living, commercial and industrial centres or wilderness recreation. However, actions to sustain ecological systems, flows and functions must be integrated across the human dimensions of regional landscapes. Such regions encompass natural areas, human living places and a mosaic of other land uses. Institutional change is required to develop new organizational forms, adjust policies and develop adaptive capacity to demonstrate restoration and maintenance of all forms of social, economic and ecological capital. No matter where on the globe, future sustainability will depend on the system of resource governance that mediates the relationship between the society and the economy and, in contrast, the continuation of ecosystem functional processes. The present article examines the forms of capital, social and institutional change that need to be considered to make progress towards sustainable futures. The discussion further considers the spatial management context in which these interweaved social, ecological and economic processes take place.

Key words ecological, forms of capital, governance, institutions, landscape, social.

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