Managing the Environment: Assessing the Capacity of Communities to Undertake Natural Resource Management

By Karen Cosgrove.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper draws on action research and insights captured from undertaking capacity evaluations of the South Australian Arid Lands (SAAL) Natural Resource Management Board (NRM Board) and regional communities throughout South Australia’s Arid Lands. The South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Board (The Board) is the peak strategic body with the duty of providing leadership and direction in the sustainable management of issues relating to soil, water, pest plants and animals in the Arid Lands region within South Australia. The Board contracted Rural Solutions SA ( a commercial arm of Primary Industries and Resources South Australia) to assess and report on the capacity of the various sub-regional groups to undertake natural resource management (NRM) projects and to make recommendations around appropriate capacity building activities required for the delivery of NRM programs in the SAAL region. Government bodies and leading institutions for natural resource management often fail to recognize the importance of engagement, governance and the knowledge and expertise of communities which if not considered can set the scene for failure. It is the purpose of this paper to provide an insight into the often-difficult interplay between institutions and community groups as they attempt to address natural resource management at the local and regional level.

Keywords: Natural Resource Management, Community, Capacity, Engagement, Capitals

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 6, pp.49-60. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 833.979KB).

Dr. Karen Cosgrove

Social Scientist - Senior Consultant Community Development, Community and Industry Integrated Development, Rural Solutions SA, Primary Industries and Resources South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Karen has contributed to a number of State and Commonwealth projects and has presented her research at several forums, including the Institute for Sustainable Futures, Sydney Australia. When employed as a Legislative/Policy Officer for the Department of Justice WA, Karen managed two major State projects, the Evaluation of Community Legal Centres in the states of WA and SA and the evaluation of South Australia’s Specialist Courts for the purpose of adopting such institutions in the State of Western Australia. Since relocating to South Australia, Karen has been involved in a number of significant projects; in particular the development of social performance indicators (a TBL component of the ScoreCard) for measuring the value of food industries, which has now been, adopted nation wide. Karen has most recently contributed to the development of an electronic tool for rural communities to self assess their overall capacity to adopt change and she is currently involved in the development of a similar tool which will enable NRM communities to self-assess their capacity to deliver NRM programs. Karen’s interests include sailing and camping and spending quality time with family and friends.


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