University Of Tasmania
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Valuing the Tarkine : a systematic quantification of optimal land use and potential conflict compromise

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posted on 2023-05-27, 10:55 authored by Evans, JD
Ecosystems continue to deplete as global demand for natural resources force land use change and cause environmental conflict. Optimal land use that considers both the significance of ecosystems and the sustainable human consumption of natural resources is required. Thus, the primary aim of the thesis was to develop an integrated approach to resolving land use conflict using the Tarkine as an exemplar. Land use change and environmental conflict are influenced by complex socio-economic factors and necessitate systematic resolution practices that address deep disagreement on values. This thesis fills a research gap by providing a systematic quantification of optimal land use and potential conflict compromise that integrates attitudes, preferences and economic values. The spatial patterns of optimal land use in the Tarkine are established using two approaches: a) the a priori approach to determine the different levels of significance and the relative worth of values and b) the a posteriori approach to determine the importance of values to people. The heritage importance of conservation values in the Tarkine was determined using their level of significance, legal recognition of importance, area in relation to Tasmania, Australia and the world, rarity, and distinctiveness. Aboriginal cultural heritage, coastal interdigitation, rainforest river landscapes and wild Dasyuridae habitats may meet criteria for World Heritage listing. Aboriginal cultural heritage, biodiversity and wilderness values may increase in the future. The international significance of the Aboriginal cultural landscape in the Tarkine has not been fully determined. Cost-benefit analysis, variable discount rates, time frames and output multipliers were used to calculate economic values. There is high economic potential for carbon and tourism development in the Tarkine, and localised potential for mining. However, the application of output multipliers changes the results creating large areas of forest with greater economic value than tourism and carbon combined. A novel reciprocal triangulation of data using attitudes and participant mapping found that conflict is multidimensional; that informed discussion of values leads to increased willingness to compromise potential outcomes; and, that variation in such willingness is predictable. A practical example suggests a way forward to resolve conflict in the Tarkine through applying a second iteration of the research findings to quantify future trade-offs and advance conflict resolution processes.


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