Geographical Research

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1745-5871
Publications
Article
Soils in a lower Hunter valley vineyard, New South Wales, Australia, were sampled and analysed for caesium-137, an indicator of soil erosion status, in 1984–1985 and 2004. From the time of the vineyard's first establishment in 1971 to 1985, estimated soil losses were 250 tonnes (equivalent to 64.2 t ha−1 yr−1). Re-sampling in 2004 showed that soil losses were 48 tonnes in the 19 years since 1985, equivalent to 9.7 t ha−1 yr−1. The decline in erosion rates may be explained by a change in land and soil management from intensive cultivation to one of no cultivation (sod culture) in 1998, and a lower annual rainfall and fewer rain-days per year in the period from 1986 to 2004.
 
Article
Accounts of European explorers between 1623 and 1880 indicate that fires were lit by Aboriginal people on Cape York Peninsula in northeast Australia throughout the dry season (May–October). Diaries kept by three generations of pastoralists in the Musgrave area (1913–1952, 1953–1974 and 1976–1992) show that burning activities were largely confined to a two to six week period between May and early August. The timing of burning depended on the amount and date of cessation of wet season rainfall. More rarely, ‘storm-burning’, burning under hot conditions within a few days of the first heavy rains of the wet season, was undertaken. Long-term pastoralists felt a responsibility to use fire wisely and had a detailed knowledge of the role of fire in land management. Their decisions to burn were based on the extent of grass curing, and soil and weather conditions, all of which affected the extent of each burn. They used early dry season fires mainly to maintain forage and control cattle movements. Storm-burns were reputed to control woody weeds, but were used infrequently because of difficulty in controlling their spread and uncertainty as to when the next rains would stimulate new grass growth.
 
Article
Land management has made a strong impact on the landscapes, especially in arid environments. Based on historical data, this paper evaluates the role of Catholic churches in the shaping of the Sanshenggong area in western China in the 1870s. Sanshenggong, an arid/semi-arid region located in western Inner Mongolia, was an important Catholic region in the west Ordos Plateau after the 1870s. After the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae) (CICM) obtained land from the Maharajah of Alashan Banner, the Belgian priests converted local Chinese (Hans) to Catholicism by lending land, houses and farm implements. By 1949 most people living there had been converted. As a result of intensive land management by the Catholic mission, the arid/semiarid landscape, formerly used as grazing lands, was changed to more intensive agricultural use. This case study exemplifies the practices and the important role an authoritarian religious organisation played in shaping oasis landscapes in arid and semiarid areas.
 
Article
The relationship between nationally unified calls for immigration restriction in the White Australia period and the emergence of an imagined national identity has been the focus of much valuable historical research. Through the method of content analysis, a geographical lens was used to re-examine the Commonwealth Parliamentary debates regarding the development of the Immigration Restriction Act 1901 and to provide empirical support to the existing scholarship. The content analysis provided statistical evidence for the ways in which immigration restriction in this specific historical context was legitimised and rationalised by social constructions that reproduced racisms. Constructions of the Self and the Other were fundamental in defining exclusion and inclusion during the White Australia era. The national Self was complexly defined by overlapping constructions of the Self as Australian, British (racially and culturally) and White. This is indicative of the tensions and negotiations between national interests and cultural, historical and ‘racial’ ties to Britain at the time. Additionally, content analysis provided nuanced insight into the ways in which the designation of inherent (and diametrically opposing) racial attributes to the White Self and non-White Other justified the ways in which ‘they’ were different from ‘us’. In this way the Other was characterised as an intrinsic threat to the development of the nation and the wellbeing of its peoples. ‘We’, on the other hand, were integral to the development of White Australia.
 
Article
During the past 15 years metropolitan planning strategies of the NSW state government have done little to address the spatial distribution of either employment or labour market equity within the metropolis. In the fast-growing outer western suburbs, the government has focused on attracting business investment to increase the stock of local jobs and to improve employment ‘self-sufficiency’— a dominantly neoliberal policy framework. This paper explores a widening gulf between the reality of outer urban change and this policy framework by considering changes in the location of jobs and in the employment experiences of residents in Greater Western Sydney (GWS). Evidence is drawn from census journey-to-work data (1991–2001). While holding a majority of manufacturing jobs in Sydney, GWS also experienced continued growth of jobs in service industries during the 1990s. Yet the relative importance of employment in the city's fast-growth finance and business services sector still lags well behind that of inner and northern parts of the city. The focus on growing the regional stock of jobs has not addressed problems of labour market access faced by residents of particular localities and the goal of employment self-sufficiency has not delivered greater equity to outer suburban labour markets. A focus on sufficiency of access to employment for residents of GWS draws attention not only to regional stocks of jobs but also to the provision of social infrastructure and state-provided services to outer suburban populations as they continue to expand.
 
Article
The Alternative Vote system used for elections to the Australian House of Representatives is generally believed to disadvantage the Australian Labor Party in contests with the Liberal and National parties. However, most analyses on which such conclusions are based over-simplify the situation by not separating out the translation of votes into seats according to whether the election outcome in a district is determined using the first-preference or two-party preferred (2PP) votes. Analyses of bias at five recent elections which recognise that separation find little bias against either party in the districts where the determination used the 2PP votes (i.e. no candidate received a majority of the first preferences), but considerable bias in those where the outcome was decided on first-preferences. Furthermore, that bias was not in one direction, but rather favoured the largest party in each of those contests. The reason for this is identified in the geography of support for the two parties, which produces the equivalent of a ‘cracked gerrymander’ in sufficient districts to have a significant impact on the outcome.
 
Article
Coastcare, Australia's community-based coastal stewardship program, ran in its original form between 1995 and 2002 underpinned by the principles of integrated coastal management. Internationally, there are very few similar enterprises. Coastcare differed in fundamental ways from other Australian natural resource stewardship programs such as Landcare and Bushcare. However, there is very little published information about the program: its activities, characteristics or achievements. The results presented in this paper are based upon analysis of descriptive statistics from two key sources: the data set of the central coordinating agency for Coastcare (the national environment agency of that time), and a questionnaire administered to State level staff of the program. This paper provides a comprehensive overview of the original program including a discussion of its practice, outcomes and limitations in terms of lack of formal evaluation. The paper expands the image of Coastcare beyond that of a grants program by explaining its broader roles in terms of education and partnership development between tiers of government and the community. Coastcare, in its original form, ceased to function in 2003 as a consequence of a remodeling of the funding strategy through the Commonwealth Government's Natural Heritage Trust. It is concluded that there is some urgency in broadcasting Coastcare's past function and fate because a new program has emerged from the old with little application of hindsight to guide better future performance.
 
Article
The disciplinary space that geographers conceive to be theirs has all been previously possessed, or latterly colonised, by other disciplines. Geographers defend their existence on the basis of their oft-asserted, but never tested, cross-disciplinarity. The journals in which refereed papers were published by members of the Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) and the papers in Australian Geographical Studies were analysed for the period 1998–2002 to test the hypothesis of cross-disciplinarity in both subject and method. IAG members do strongly tend to publish in more than one disciplinary area, and a large proportion of papers in Australian Geographical Studies are integrative across subdisciplines in geography, with many using more than one methodological approach. However, transgression of the physical geography/human geography divide was sufficiently uncommon to create a statistical break between sets of subdisciplines. Based on the data used in the present paper, Australian geographers can make a case for being members of a vital, integrative discipline, likely to make substantial advances in the hybrid spaces.
 
Article
The work-life balance is a pressing social issue in Australia but one on which geographers have been relatively silent. Predictions of ‘a leisure society’ have not been fulfilled. Instead, work has come to dominate life in Australia and in many other advanced western societies. The reasons for this are explored. Materialism is at the heart of the work-life imbalance. There is, however, evidence of a changing work ethic and the emergence of leisure-orientated lifestyles, albeit with ‘leisure’ interpreted as ‘freedom to’ undertake gratifying activity rather than simply ‘freedom from’ obligatory commitments. Despite the supposed homogenising influence of globalisation and the internet, place will become increasingly important in a leisure-orientated lifestyle-led future.
 
Article
For many Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, workplace pensions have been an important mechanism for supplementing state-sponsored social security. Notwithstanding significant differences between developed economies in the significance attached to workplace pensions, provision has been typically encouraged through preferential tax policies on benefits and compensation packages. If relevant for the baby-boom generation, it is doubtful that these arrangements will be as important for future generations. As state-sponsored social security has been discounted in terms of promised value and entitlement, traditional workplace pensions have been closing and replaced by retirement saving instruments that are neither as lucrative nor as dependable. Retrenchment in workplace pensions has prompted governments to consider and, in some cases, develop different types of retirement savings institutions. This paper charts the decline of traditional workplace pensions, the apparent inadequacy of alternatives such as money-purchase (defined contribution) schemes, and the rise of what are referred to as ‘public utilities’: government sponsored savings institutions designed to compensate for the decline (in coverage and promised value) of workplace pensions albeit at a more modest level than that associated with traditional defined benefit schemes. Reference is made to the experience of the USA, the UK, and Australia with passing comments of related developments in Germany and continental Europe. It is argued that the rise of public utilities in this domain is indicative of the transformation of corporate capitalism over the past 25 years and the realisation that the costs of neoliberalism may be so significant that governments have to take responsibility, once again, for underwriting retirement welfare.
 
Article
Conservation authorities and local Maori are engaged in a collaborative science project within the Morere Scenic Reserve (east coast of the North Island in New Zealand). Although the project was restricted initially to the integration of knowledge to support sustainable harvests of kiekie (Freycinetia baueriana), the illegitimacy of state agencies to manage competing Maori demands for that species led inadvertently to the devolution of harvest administration to a local tribe. The success of the Morere experiment is evident in widespread support for a subsequent decision to fallow the kiekie resource, suggesting that further experiments to activate Indigenous polities within conservation management are warranted. Nonetheless, ambivalence towards Maori development needs circumscribes the potential of devolved management and collaborative science.
 
Article
While most Australians are conscious of the amount of waste that they place in garbage bins, relatively few would be aware of the waste that is generated in the course of producing the goods and services that they consume. This ‘embodied waste’ makes up a large part of the ‘ecological rucksack’ of those goods and services. This study develops a waste account for Queensland, using the ecological rucksack framework to illustrate patterns of waste production in the Australian economy. It classifies wastes both by type and broad sector of production. The study finds that the Queensland economy generated more than four billion tonnes of waste during the 2006–2007 financial year. The largest waste streams are produced at the resource extraction and distribution stages, and are predominantly materials that are disposed of without being used or are lost through inefficient use. The majority of the waste is produced upstream of the point of consumption and a large part is associated with materials produced for export.
 
Article
Several Sub-Saharan African countries have experienced an upsurge of land claims by various ethnic groups whose lands were acquired by both the colonial and the post-colonial State through compulsory acquisition. Ethnicity has been used as the basis of emancipating some ethnic groups from perceived disenfranchisement and impoverishment caused by the State acquiring their land. In some cases such land claims result in violence that threatens the social fabric of these countries. An urban example of such a land claim has been made by the GaDangme Council (GDC) in Ghana. This paper assesses the land claim by GDC and argues that its claim of disenfranchisement is more a perception than reality. The paper also investigates why GDC perceives the Ga ethnic group as impoverished and disenfranchised. It concludes by providing structural and pragmatic ways for solving problems centred on Ga land acquisition by the State. Resolving the Ga case may provide lessons for other countries experiencing similar problems.
 
Article
The 137Cs (caesium-137) method was used to investigate medium-term rates of sediment deposition on the floodplain of the Labasa River, on Vanua Levu island in northern Fiji. The Labasa basin is commercially important for sugarcane farming, which provides much revenue and sustains the economy in the greater Labasa area. Alluvium was sampled at three riverbank sites in vertical increments of 30 mm. Measured net vertical accretion rates, based on analysis of depth-profiles of 137Cs activity, ranged from 10 mm yr−1 at a low-lying site near a tributary confluence with the main river, to 60 mm yr−1 on a levée that was elevated slightly above the adjacent floodplain. These rates of accretion are high, but in general agreement with rates recorded using similar methods in other tropical Pacific island river systems. Soil erosion under sugarcane on hilly parts of the lower Labasa basin is an important factor in rapid floodplain development. Observations made during Cyclone Ami, which traversed Vanua Levu island in early 2003, illustrate the major contribution of severe storm events to floodplain sediment supply, by triggering numerous landslides on catchment slopes and in-channel debris floods, and by generating large-magnitude overbank floods.
 
Article
Since its inclusion amongst Olympic sports in the 1990s, women's soccer has grown impressively worldwide. Despite its rapid global expansion and growth in the number of playing participants, the sport has been neglected by geographers. In Australia, which is currently the fifth women's soccer country in the world as per registered players, the popularity of the sport has grown significantly in recent years. Perhaps even more strikingly, however, the approach to the sport has changed, to focus on the achievement of results. The shift in the purpose of women's soccer, from a solely social and recreational activity to an achievement sport, is a result of the increasing links between the local women's soccer systems and the global world of sport. The paper examines an exemplar of South Australia, and in particular the Adelaide metropolitan region. Here, in the last 30 years, women's soccer has evolved from a geography of foundation, defined by informal organisation and localised scope, to a geography of achievement, characterised by an institutionalised focus on the production of players, the introduction of higher-profile ‘sportscapes’, a broader pattern of clubs distribution, and a new set of connections with global women's soccer. The current geography of achievement links local and global women's soccer scenes. On the other hand, it funnels access to the achievement level of South Australian women's soccer to a limited central area of Adelaide's metropolitan region. The paper also draws attention to the part that social capital, and especially ‘bridging’ social capital, played in enabling the evolution of Adelaide women's soccer. The role of social capital as a contributing element of the development of sporting systems is a topic that deserves further investigation.
 
Article
This paper explores the reasons behind the omission of historic acoustic values from heritage assessments in Australia. Best practice dictates that all cultural heritage values associated with significant places should be assessed in order to make informed conservation and management decisions. However, the multi-sensory nature of aesthetics has been reframed in guidance documentation in ways that run counter to the primary frame. Conventions that have developed around the way places are assessed also work against comprehensive identification of values. As a result, the consideration of aesthetics in cultural heritage is limited to contemporary visual qualities. Furthermore, because the assessment of historic value takes a diachronic rather than synchronic approach, we have little knowledge of the places past communities valued for the sounds they experienced there. Research into landscape preference and acoustic ecology highlights the importance of identifying the inherent acoustic dimension of places and the role sound plays in developing a sense of place. Two landscape areas in Western Australia's south-west with historic acoustic values, the Boranup Sand Patch and the Lower Reaches of the Blackwood River, illustrate how historic soundscapes can provide insightful contrasts and resonances with contemporary values, and how vulnerable such places are when the sound of place is overlooked in land management policies.
 
Average grain size distributions for the five entropy sediment texture groups found in the study.
Box and whisker plots of (a) carbon (b) nitrogen and (c) phosphorus, in relation to sediment textural groups in the study area. Significance groupings presented at bottom of each graph. Categories with different letters are significantly different. For each box and whisker plot the median, 95th and 5th percentile are displayed.
Box and whisker plots of (a) carbon (b) nitrogen and (c) phosphorus, in relation to inset-floodplain surface elevation in the study area. Significance groupings presented at bottom of each graph. Categories with different letters are significantly different. For each box and whisker plot the median, 95th and 5th percentile are displayed.
Article
Deciphering patterns and inferring processes in multicausal floodplain river ecosystems is a challenge in river science. The effects of larger-scale top-down constraints and smaller-scale bottom-up influences on the spatial patterns of nutrient concentrations across multiple inset-floodplain surfaces was studied in a large dryland floodplain river (Barwon-Darling River, south-east Australia). The distribution of sediment-associated carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus was primarily related with significant differences in the textural character of the different floodplain surfaces. Elevation of the different floodplain surfaces above the active channel was a secondary influence on the distribution of carbon and phosphorus. Combined, these factors produce a spatial patch mosaic of sediment associated carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous across these floodplain surfaces.
 
Article
Neoliberalism is a term most often used by those working in the field of political economy, including human geographers, to refer to the new political preference for market mechanisms as a way of ensuring social and economic wellbeing. To date, however, analysts of neoliberalism have focused on the decline of the national economy, and on the erosion of universalist conceptions of social welfarism. Much less attention has been paid to the complex and contested processes through which new spaces, socialities and subjectivities are being constituted. Through a case study of the Stronger Communities Action Fund, this paper examines these new spaces, socialities and subjectivities of social policy, including the shift towards heterogeneous conceptions of community, the rise of community based expertise, and the centring of ‘etho-politics’. It concludes that neoliberalism is a more contradictory phenomenon than is often recognised. If analysts continue to portray neoliberalism as a monolithic project, and to emphasize what has been lost, rather than examining the complex trajectories of the new, they are much less likely to be sensitive to the different political possibilities offered in the current context.
 
Article
Over the past decade neoliberalism has come to represent the dominant policy discourse and ideology in the majority of western economies. Following the attention given to this phenomenon at a global (and national) scale, there has been a recent rise in interest in its regional implementation and expression and in how these are mediated through the embedded institutional associations of context dependent localities. Using Brenner and Theodore's (2002a) notion of ‘actually existing neoliberalisms’, this paper explores the hybrid nature of the residential property market. Using one of Greater Sydney's fastest growing regions as an example, this paper shows how residential developments are hybrid constructions, framed by institutional and policy resonances constituted by both state and market actants. Key factors here are the processes of partnership (a process of joining the market and the state), master planning (a process of recognising and pursuing the goals of both the market and the state) and negotiation and provision of state infrastructure (a process of direct state construction of the market).
 
Article
If maps are conceived as representations of reality or as spatially referenced data assemblages, a dilemma is raised by the nature of Indigenous knowledge traditions and multiple ontologies. How can differing knowledge traditions, differing ways of mapping be enabled to work together without subsumption into one common or universal ontology? The paper explores one way of handling this dilemma by reconceiving mapping and knowing performatively and hodologically. It is argued that one way in which differing knowledge traditions can interact and be mutually interrogated is by creating a database structured as distributed knowledge and emulating a complex adaptive system. Through focusing on the encounters, tensions and cooperations between traditions and utilising the concept of cognitive trails- the creation of knowledge by movement through the natural and intellectual environment – the socially distributed performative dimensions of differing modes of spatially organised knowledges can then be held in a dialogical tension that enables emergent mapping.
 
Article
This paper proposes using an adaptive management approach to achieve water quality improvement in large catchments with multiple diffuse pollutant issues. Adaptive management involves attention to process, and commitment to continually improving knowledge and practice. It also requires an appreciation of differences in understanding of various stakeholders and an ongoing commitment to learning. Based on research with the Burdekin Dry Tropics regional Natural Resource Management group, the paper shows how the acquisition of knowledge about Water Quality Management can be an aim in itself, rather than an activity peripheral to the planning process. To this end, the paper describes the methods used to elicit stakeholders’ understandings, explores the variation in understandings between key stakeholders, and describes a process used to incorporate the various views in an adaptive management framework for managing water quality. The research findings reveal the importance of process and participation for adaptive management and suggest that success can be judged in terms of learning outcomes.
 
Article
Although sport is considered an important component of Australian society and a precious vehicle of social interaction, sports geography remains in many ways a neglected field of investigation. Nevertheless, geographical studies of sports can add valuable insights to more acknowledged geographical discourses. They can also contribute to regional sporting success. This paper analyses the current spatial organisation of women's soccer in Adelaide and outlines the unequal spatial expression of its recent professionally-oriented approach, the achievement phase. A significant proportion of Adelaide's female population experiences limited opportunity to participate fully in the sport. The sport therefore fails to maximise its human resources and its spatial organisation constitutes a limit to the competitiveness of South Australian women's soccer as a system. The paper uses the concept of social capital to explore the unequal engagement of four sub-regions in women's soccer. Many of the areas experiencing relative exclusion from women's soccer are the same ones that suffer the most from disengagement from the global economy. In those areas, socio-economic disadvantage is matched by limited opportunities for self-fulfilment through sport, and the effectiveness of social networks is weaker. This work aims to provide information for South Australian women's soccer institutions to foster enhanced equity in terms of access to the sport in metropolitan Adelaide. It also provides a base from which to investigate the reasons behind sub-regional differences in the ability to produce quality players, knowledge that, if applied to these less productive areas, may contribute to the general enhancement of overall sporting outcomes.
 
Article
Port Adelaide, South Australia has been stigmatised as ‘Port Misery’ for over one hundred and fifty years. The origins of this stigmatised discourse can be traced prior to actual colonisation, having their genesis in wide political debates. This reflects the complex and contested nature of landscape, revealing that ‘Port Misery’ constitutes a powerful meta-narrative that has been projected onto Port Adelaide by powerful and often external actors. This stigmatising discourse may lie dormant for prolonged periods of time, only to be remobilised to serve specific political, social and economic objectives. Recently, the ‘Port Misery’ discourse has been remobilised to justify the redevelopment of Port Adelaide from an industrial to a post-industrial landscape.
 
Article
This paper presents preliminary analysis of a larger study examining the re-making of the Port Adelaide waterfront. It offers insights into the way the processes of urban entrepreneurialism endeavour to appropriate and transform landscapes by building on a particular heritage of place while simultaneously dismantling this image to recreate an alternative form. The proposal to refashion the Port's waterfront into a lifestyle and tourist destination will dramatically transform the current socio-spatial organisation of working and community life as perceived and valued by those local communities currently living in and around the Port area. The removal of a small group of boatyard operators from the inner-harbour, as part of the redevelopment, is symbolic of local concern of the potential loss of a particular way of working and community life that is steeped in history, heritage and class and is particular and peculiar to the Port Adelaide waterfront. The findings support the view that the process of urban entrepreneurialism in the re-imaging of place is transformative, selective and exclusive.
 
Article
As an arguably ‘post colonial’ society, Australia is evolving its particular identity and sense of self, but reconciliation with its Indigenous peoples remains a significant political and cultural issue. Social inclusion or marginalisation is reflected in the construct of the civic landscape and this paper traces and contextualises public space Indigenous representation or ‘cultural markers’, since the 1960s in Adelaide, South Australia, the Kaurna people's land. This paper identifies social phases and time periods in the evolution of the ways in which Indigenous people and their culture have been included in the city's public space. Inclusion of Indigenous peoples in civic landscapes contributes not only to their spiritual and cultural renewal and contemporary identity, but also to the whole community's sense of self and to the process of reconciliation. This has the potential to provide a gateway to a different way of understanding place which includes an Indigenous perspective and could, symbolically, contribute to the decolonisation of Indigenous people. An inter-related issue for the colonising culture is reconciliation with the Indigenous nature of the land, in the sense of an intimate sense of belonging and connectedness of spirit through an understanding of Indigenous cultural landscapes, an issue which this paper explores. The paper also sets out suggestions for the facilitation of further Indigenous inclusion and of re-imagining ways of representation.
 
Article
This paper reports on the calculation of poverty rates for small areas in Australia using a spatial microsimulation model. The spatial microsimulation methodology used involves reweighting data from confidentialised unit record files (CURFs) from surveys conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to small area census data, also from the ABS. The method is described in this paper, and then maps of poverty using poverty rates derived from this small area estimation method are shown for the eastern coast of Australia and its capital cities. Further analysis of poverty rates in capital cities is then conducted. We find that areas of higher poverty risk can be clearly identified within Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane. We also find that areas of high poverty are frequently ‘buffered’ by areas of moderate poverty. This is not always the case since, in some areas, we find a high poverty area neighbouring a low poverty area but, generally, there appears to be a moderate poverty ‘buffer’ in most capital cities.
 
Article
Land use patterns can be viewed as a reflection of various factors including zoning regulations and environmental and social influences. To understand the effects of these factors, late twentieth century land use data for Kamakura City, Japan were analysed in relation to zoning regulations and geomorphological influences using geographic information systems techniques. Kamakura is a typical example of an Asian historic city experiencing the pressures of recent urbanisation. Statistical analyses, including principal component analysis, were employed to identify factors affecting changes in major land use patterns over time and space. The rapid increase in population and government regulation in the 1970s led to the construction of low-rise buildings in piedmont areas. However, topography and conservation activities limited construction to areas with slope angles below about 10°. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the area of vacant land on the urban lowlands increased due to the large increases in land value during the Japanese Bubble Economy phase. Land use intensified in most urban areas, although hilly areas were still characterised by low-rise buildings. Although urban sprawl has occurred in many cities in Asia, this has been limited in Kamakura because of strong land use regulation and conservation activities. However, the city has experienced high-rise development in its urban lowlands.
 
Article
Several parts of Binh Phuóc Province, southern Vietnam, suffer from degraded soils and vegetation as a result of both natural erosion of weak mud rocks and sandstones and intensive human activity, especially through land clearing for agriculture on unstable slopes, deforestation, and abandonment of poor farmland. The underlying cause of this land degradation has been the farming habits of migrants of varying ethnic groups who have settled in the area since 1980. The indigenous farming knowledge of these people and the role of that knowledge in soil erosion were examined by a series of household surveys. They enabled farming practices to be related to ground cover established from a 2002 Landsat 7 ETM (Enhanced Thematic Mapper), and erosion data from a series of erosion bridge measurements. A GIS (Geographical Information System) approach was piloted as a means of identifying areas vulnerable to erosion. This could then be combined with the understanding of farming practices to reveal the relative roles of farmer behaviour, crop cover, and slope and soil characteristics in the erosion process. Land use, local people's knowledge and economic realities are the main factors, as well as natural conditions, that drive this land degradation.
 
Article
Imizamo Yethu, in Cape Town, is one of the many informal settlements in South Africa's post-Apartheid urban landscape. Residents live in abject poverty and are potentially vulnerable to a range of environmental hazards, of which fire hazard is one of the most common. A major fire, on the 8 February 2004, caused significant damage to housing and infrastructure, resulting in widespread homelessness and loss of personal possessions. Despite this, there was minimal loss of life and few major injuries. The community re-grouped after the fire and Imizamo Yethu has remained viable as a community to the present day. Contemporary geographical research on hazards emphasises aspects of community vulnerability and resilience. The present paper identifies and examines factors that enhance community resilience in the informal settlement of Imizamo Yethu, particularly in response and recovery to fire events. A survey completed in the aftermath of the 2004 fire found that social networks, some formal community institutions that foster community participation and the resourcefulness of individuals were the most important factors underpinning resilience.
 
Article
The developing nations of southern Africa have previously been identified as vulnerable to the vagaries of global change, particularly in terms of future climate change. This paper explores recent climate change scenarios for the region in terms of some representative sectors of the environment-society interface, namely biodiversity, agriculture and related land uses, water resources and health issues. It is concluded that the impacts of predicted climate changes over the next century are likely to be very marked indeed. Biome distribution, agriculture, rangelands and water resources are highlighted as being negatively impacted in ways that will increase the vulnerability of the great majority of the region's population to natural hazards. The potential impact of these changes on the prolific biodiversity of southern Africa is clear. Holistic policy responses, incorporating both environmental and human development concerns, are required in the near future if a crisis is to be averted.
 
Article
Land degradation is the result of the intersection of a complex set of biophysical and socio-economic factors. The capacity of an individual or community to address land degradation is likewise constrained. While it is quite possible for professionals and learners to grasp the main issues around land degradation from a theoretical perspective, internalising the reality of what it means to be the resource degrader is more difficult. We have developed two active learning methods that aim to address this problem. The first is the African Catchment Game, a role-playing game based on Graham Chapman's Green Revolution Game, adapted for the southern Africa context and incorporating a land degradation component. In this game participants play out the complex dynamics of rural-urban-global linkages against a background of environmental hazards. The second is based on Save the Children Fund's RiskMap computer simulation that models risk in terms of rural livelihoods for different income groups. Ethiopia is used as the example. This paper evaluates the two active learning techniques as tools for exploring the relationships between land degradation and poverty through an evaluation of participants’ experiences. The analysis shows clear potential for developing alternative teaching curricula that are aligned to our theoretical understanding.
 
Article
This paper continues our work focused on developing a new socio-economic geography for Australia such that the chosen spatial aggregation of data is based on an analysis of economic behaviour. The underlying hypothesis is that the development of a geographical classification based on underlying economic behaviour will provide new insights into critical issues of regional performance, including unemployment differentials, the impact of industry, infrastructure and changes in local public expenditure on local labour markets. As a precursor to detailed work on the 2006 Census of Population and Housing data, we establish the proof of concept in this paper of the Intramax methodology using 2001 Journey-to-Work data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for the state of New South Wales. The functional regionalisation generated by the Intramax method is then tested using ABS labour force data. We compare 2001 ABS Census of Population and Housing data aggregated by the ABS labour force regions to the same data aggregated using our functional regions. The results demonstrate the potential value of this technique for the development of a new geography.
 
Article
In this paper we address the often sterile and circular debates over relationships between poverty and deforestation. These debates revolve around questions of whether forest loss causes poverty or poverty contributes to forest encroachment, and questions of whether it is loss of access to forests or dependence on forest-based livelihoods that cause poverty. We suggest that a way beyond the impasse is to set such debates within the context of agrarian change. Livelihoods of those who live in or near forests depend considerably on a rapidly changing agriculture, yet agrarian contexts receive only background attention in popular, political and academic discourse over poverty and forests. Moreover, to the extent that agriculture is considered, little heed is paid to social, technical and economic change. We therefore address agriculture's changing relationships with the wider economy, otherwise referred to as the agrarian transition, and with the natural resource base on which it depends. The paper draws on the experience of Thailand to illustrate our key argument, and more specifically addresses the situation on the resource periphery through a look at the agriculture-forest interface.
 
Article
The agriculture that occurs in Australia's peri-urban regions is not well understood, nor has its economic value ever been examined systematically. Using a spatial frame derived from research into population change, Agricultural Census data are used to calculate the value of this agricultural production. The analysis suggests that peri-urban regions in the five mainland States produce almost 25% of Australia's total gross value of agricultural production. Evidence gathered from other surveys suggests that, in some respects, this may be an underestimate. Although qualified and provisional, these findings have important strategic implications for agricultural development, urban and regional development and, ultimately, sustainable development. However, peri-urban issues are often submerged in public policy deliberations, and peri-urban agriculture is poorly served by the Agricultural Census.
 
Article
Airports are remaking Australian cities as they remake themselves as privatised enclaves of commercial entrepreneurialism. In line with overseas trends towards airport cities, all major federally leased Australian airports now derive a significant proportion of their revenue from non-aeronautical property development. New land uses such as direct factory outlets, big-box retailing, and even brickworks have proven most controversial. State governments, local councils, community groups, industry, and professional associations have expressed concerns about these commercial developments with statutory responsibility for development approvals vested solely in the federal government. The paper draws on the concept of ‘actually existing neoliberalism’ to interpret the making of the new market-driven airport spaces, the controversies which have ensued, and the re-regulatory interventions of the Commonwealth required to address community tensions. The debate about development of non-aeronautical activities on federally leased airport land is explored through the lens of the National Aviation Policy Review. The recommendations of this Review aim to incrementally reconfigure the policy commitment to ‘light handed’ regulation but future planning conflicts seem inevitable.
 
Article
Lichenometric dating is a cheap, relatively rapid means of dating rock surfaces, which has generally been overlooked in Australia. While lichenometry finds its greatest application in arctic and alpine geomorphological studies, there has been limited application to archaeological studies. This project set out to test the technique in south-eastern Australia, and assess its usefulness for dating post-settlement artefacts. The diameters of Buellia albula lichens growing on well-dated memorials in the Bendigo cemetery were measured, and the relationship between age and lichen diameter established. The results indicate that B. albula can be used to determine the age of exposed cement surfaces from the 1890s to the present. The positive results suggest the technique should be investigated in other applications and environments in Australia, particularly where alternative dating techniques cannot be used.
 
Article
This paper reviews the evolution of land use and mangrove forest management in a coastal commune in Central Vietnam from its early period of environmentally sound management under a common property regime, through State and cooperative management, to individual household allocation under the economic reforms of the 1990s. It analyses in particular the introduction of shrimp culture and its environmental and socioeconomic consequences. The case study demonstrates that, while opening up many economic opportunities, Vietnam's economic reforms have had uneven impacts on income inequality. Like many cases in Asia and Latin America, the disruption of common property resources – through the introduction of aquaculture as a livelihood opportunity and producer of an export crop – leaves farmers indebted and natural resources polluted. But, ironically, it was the financially better-off aquaculture farmers, who had more capacity for risk-taking and investing, who ended up most indebted, in comparison with poorer farmers who had already sold their ponds. The latter were less integrated into the market economy and relied more on marine product collection. This paper suggests that attention to local contexts and histories can contribute to a better understanding of the causes and consequences of environment-poverty interfaces.
 
Article
Rural Australia continues to experience a chronic medical workforce shortage. For a variety of reasons, recruiting to and retaining medical professionals in many rural communities remain difficult. A place's amenity is often cited as a significant contributing factor towards the differential attractiveness of different rural and remote practice locations for doctors. This study investigates the extent to which there is an association between medical workforce shortage across rural Australia and a selection of place characteristics descriptive of their isolation, climate, and overall rural amenity. Our main outcome measure, District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) designation, has been employed for over a decade to identify areas eligible for incentive measures designed to overcome the chronic rural medical workforce shortage. Somewhat surprisingly, our study found only a weak association between DWS and our measure of rural amenity. In contrast, alternative measures of medical workforce shortage showed a moderate-to-strong association with rural amenity. The weak explanatory value of rural amenity may reflect the limitations of the DWS measure or the lesser significance of rural amenity compared with other professional aspects relating to where doctors take up practice. Findings from this study also suggest that the current DWS measure provides an inadequate basis for targeting recruitment and retention incentives.
 
Article
Most efforts to restore environmental flows to the Murray River assume that it means resolving a dilemma between two competing needs: those of the environment and those of agriculturalists. This paper provides evidence to show amenity is also important, it is not being adequately considered, and that this, in turn, is impeding efforts to restore environmental flows. The paper contains a literature review of a number of studies which, when combined, show that the importance of amenity (tourism, recreation and lifestyle) is of similar scale (has significant economic value and community support) to productive values. Three case studies show that community concerns about loss of amenity values have impeded restoration programs despite evidence that existing practices are causing environmental damage. The debate about water use in the Murray is clearly not simply one between environment and production but also one involving lifestyles. The challenge is to better understand the nature and scale of amenity and its relationship to other natural resource management issues.
 
Article
Vegetation stress or mortality can be the result of many factors including drought-induced water deficit, insect infestations and failures of, or fluctuations in, precipitation sources typical to an area. Reduction of cover and reduced health are identifiable in remotely-sensed multispectral satellite images. A suite of images from NASA's MODIS sensor was used to calculate the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) during the 2000–2006 North American growing seasons. Fluctuations in NDVI over this period show a significant decline in vegetative health in the region with specific areas showing changes linked to moisture sources, prevailing wind patterns, slope aspect and solar radiation receipt. Ground-truthing of these areas has confirmed the extent and magnitude of the dieoff signal. Historically, dieoff has been reversed through regeneration as climate conditions return to a normal regime. However, quantification of recent vegetative change in western North America suggests that the degree of change may be too severe for regrowth to occur and may have far-reaching impacts on a scale unseen in modern times. The loss of vegetative habitat and native species in semi-arid regions and lack of regeneration in these marginal ecosystems due to prolonged drought are growing global problems. Similar drought stress impacts on marginal ecotypes have also been observed in semi-arid regions of Australia, South America, Asia and Africa. Observations of the spatial pattern of temperate forest vegetation globally can be used to develop a precise picture of vegetative health in these regions and how they are reacting to global climate change.
 
Article
Geographies of three generations of Greek and Italian ancestry in Sydney totalling 245 000 people in 2001 are identified. A model of community sequences is developed within a conceptual framework of intergenerational spatial, occupational and social absorption. Considerable intra- and inter-generational occupational mobility took place and the third generations showed higher proportions as managers, professionals and associate professionals than persons of Australian ancestry. Second and third generations had occupational profiles which were much closer to the host society than the first generations. Despite occupational mobility, employment, residential and social trends associated with the first generations affected the adult second generations and to an extent the third. Several thousand members of three generations re-grouped into successive local communities, patronised facilities in core communities, and maintained place identities.
 
Article
This study assessed the influence of the Inter-Tropical Discontinuity (ITD) on inter-annual rainfall characteristics in Nigeria between 1970 and 2000. This involved determining the strength and direction of the relationships between the total annual rainfalls in the extreme southern and northern parts of the country and the total annual rainfalls during the period of the Little Dry Season in southwestern Nigeria, and the surface locations of the ITD over Nigeria and some other factors that may impact ITD characteristics (such as the pressure differences between Azores, Libyan and St. Helena anticyclones and the sea surface temperature of the Gulf of Guinea). Results indicate that although the surface location of the ITD significantly accounts for rainfall inter-annual variability in Nigeria, it does so in the northern part of the country only. Pressure differences between the various anticyclones were observed to be another significant factor influencing inter-annual rainfall variability in the north. However, the influence of the sea surface temperature of the Gulf of Guinea on the rainfall characteristics in the northern region is ill-defined. It was also noted that the only factor influencing inter-annual variability in the Little Dry Season rainfall in the southwest and the total annual rainfalls in the south is the sea surface temperature of the Gulf of Guinea. The results obtained indicate that the total annual rainfalls in the north have significant positive relationships with the surface location of the ITD but significant negative relationships with the pressure differences between the Azores, Libyan and St. Helena anticyclones. The Little Dry Season rainfalls and total annual rainfalls in the south have significant positive relationships with the sea surface temperature of the Gulf of Guinea.
 
Top-cited authors
Neil Argent
  • University of New England (Australia)
Pauline Mcguirk
  • University of Wollongong
Clive Forster
  • Flinders University
Steffanie Scott
  • University of Waterloo
Colin Michael Hall
  • University of Canterbury