Forest Management, Resilience and Climate Change: An Analysis of Legal and Policy Frameworks in Tasmania and New South Wales

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Copyright: Guidi, Caterina
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Abstract
Climate change poses serious challenges for forests and thus for sustainable forest management (SFM). The concept of resilience has been identified as a useful tool in minimising the impacts of climate change on forests. However, while the utility of the concept has been recognised generally in the literature, and seven principles of ‘Resilience Thinking’ have been designed, application of the concept in the context of SFM has yet to be examined. Under international commitments, Australia is obliged both to account for climate change impacts in SFM and to work to increase forest resilience in order to minimise those impacts and ensure the sustainability of forests into the future. Using the ‘Resilience Thinking’ principles as a framework, this thesis examines SFM legislation and policies in Tasmania and New South Wales (NSW) to ascertain the extent to which they support forest resilience to climate change. In particular, it assesses whether and how each principle is considered in the development and implementation of SFM systems. Four major challenges to the development and implementation of SFM legislation and policies capable of supporting forest resilience are identified: fragmentation of SFM systems; inadequate participation in forest decision-making; the absence of active adaptive management in forest reserves; and SFM legislation and policy mechanisms that fall short in dealing with both the short and long-term uncertainties of climate change impacts on forests. Reflecting on those challenges, the thesis proposes and examines possible solutions including: the application of an integrated landscape approach to SFM; options for improved participation by a more diverse range of actors in periodic goal setting and management actions; the application of active adaptive management aimed specifically at building resilience in reserve areas; and the incorporation of short and long-term goals into decision-making through adequate monitoring, reporting and evaluation systems utilising specific resilience criteria and indicators. In applying the ‘Resilience Thinking’ principles in the SFM context for the first time, the thesis lays the groundwork for further consideration of the challenges and solutions to implementing resilience beyond the case studies.
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Publication Year
2023
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Thesis
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PhD Doctorate
UNSW Faculty
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