'The sweeter country': social dimensions to riparian management in the Burdekin rangelands, Queensland

Lankester, A.; Valentine, P.; Cottrell, A.
June 2009
Australasian Journal of Environmental Management;Jun2009, Vol. 16 Issue 2, p94
Academic Journal
In this article, we examine the social issues underpinning cattle producers' riparian management decisions in the savanna rangelands of north-eastern Queensland. Improved riparian management in these beef grazing regions has become increasingly important given the decline in water quality entering the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Consequently, there is pressure from management agencies on cattle producers to adopt recommended riparian management practices. However, little is known about what is driving cattle producers' riparian management choices and the factors influencing these choices. Interviews with producers from 18 properties in the Burdekin rangelands sought to fill this knowledge gap. Results showed that the decision by producers to adopt such riparian management practices as fencing and spelling of riparian pastures was largely based on the perceived production benefits and losses. However, an array of social, environmental and financial factors also influenced producers' riparian management decisions. Key influencing factors include social learning, position in the catchment, and financial capacity. Implications for future policy and extension programs are discussed.


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