University Of Tasmania
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Scenery to wilderness: National park development in Tasmania, 1916-1992

posted on 2023-05-26, 01:33 authored by Mendel, LC
National parks comprise a significant component of landscapes around the world. This thesis examines the development of the national park system in Tasmania from 1916 to 1992, with a particular emphasis on changing conservation motives and themes, and their expression in the reserve system. Part One of this thesis traces the creation of national parks in Tasmania over three major periods of reservation activity: the early period (1916- 1937); the middle period (1938-1970); and the late period (1971-1992). Historical evidence is used to identify: the reserve proponents and their motives; opposition to establishing reserves; the debates surrounding the creation of reserves; and the outcomes. A developmental narrative is given on the creation of national parks in each period, with a broader view of identifying the dominant conservation motives and themes and changes to these over time. Part Two of this thesis examines the representation of three majo r conservation attributes in national parks established across each period of reserve development. The representation of biological diversity, scenery and wilderness in national parks is quantified for each period. The changing levels of representation of each of these attributes and their relative significance to each other over time are assessed. The historical and mapping analyses both indicate that there have been shifting emphases in conservation motives and themes over time in the development of Tasmanian national parks. In both the early and middle periods the historical evidence suggests that scenery and general nature conservation were the dominant motives behind the creation of national parks, together with themes of tourism and recreation. In the late period there was a shift in emphasis towards wilderness conservation and more spe cific nature conservation as the dominant themes. Areas of high aesthetic value had greater proportionate representation in national parks during the early and middle periods than the late period. While national parks were established in wild erness areas during all periods, the representation of wilderness in the reserve system increased dramatically during the late period. The representation of biological diversity was biased towards high altitude biological elements in the early and middle periods, and expanded to capture greater diversity during the late period. There is thus a strong relationship between motives and p atterns of elements captured in the reserve system. However, this has been tempered by opposition from those with economic interests in the State's natural resources, particularly the mining, forestry and hydroelectric industries.


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