Ecological and Cultural Understanding as a Basis for Management of a Globally Significant Island Landscape

Walker, Kim E. and Baldwin, Claudia and Conroy, Gabriel C. and Applegate, Grahame and Archer-Lean, Clare and Arthington, Angela H. and Behrendorff, Linda and Gilby, Ben L. and Hadwen, Wade and Henderson, Christopher J. and Jacobsen, Chris and Lamb, David and Lieske, Scott N. and Ogbourne, Steven M. and Olds, Andrew D. and Ota, Liz and Ribbe, Joachim ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6749-1228 and Sargent, Susan and Schaffer, Vikki and Schlacher, Thomas A. and Stevens, Nicholas and Srivastava, Sanjeev K. and Weston, Michael A. and Ellison, Aaron M. (2022) Ecological and Cultural Understanding as a Basis for Management of a Globally Significant Island Landscape. Coasts, 2 (3). pp. 152-202.

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Abstract

Islands provide the opportunity to explore management regimes and research issues related to the isolation, uniqueness, and integrity of ecological systems. K’gari (Fraser Island) is an Australian World Heritage property listed based on its outstanding natural value, specifically, the unique wilderness characteristics and the diversity of ecosystem types. Our goal was to draw on an understanding of the natural and cultural environment of K’gari as a foundation on which to build a management model that includes First Nations Peoples in future management and research. Our research involved an analysis of papers in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, original reports, letters, and other manuscripts now housed in the K’gari Fraser Island Research Archive. The objectives of the research were: (1) to review key historical events that form the cultural, social, and environmental narrative; (2) review the major natural features of the island and threats; (3) identify the gaps in research; (4) analyse the management and conservation challenges associated with tourism, biosecurity threats, vegetation management practices, and climate change and discuss whether the requirements for sustaining island ecological integrity can be met in the future; and (5) identify commonalities and general management principles that may apply globally to other island systems and other World Heritage sites listed on the basis of their unique natural and cultural features. We found that the characteristics that contribute to island uniqueness are also constraints for research funding and publication; however, they are important themes that warrant more investment. Our review suggests that K’gari is a contested space between tourist visitation and associated environmental impacts, with an island that has rich First Nations history, extraordinary ecological diversity, and breathtaking aesthetic beauty. This juxtaposition is reflected in disparate views of custodianship and use, and the management strategies are needed to achieve multiple objectives in an environmentally sustainable way whilst creating cultural equity in modern times. We offer a foundation on which to build a co-management model that includes First Nations Peoples in governance, management, research, and monitoring.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current – Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mathematics, Physics and Computing (1 Jan 2022 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current – Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mathematics, Physics and Computing (1 Jan 2022 -)
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2022 23:19
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2022 00:51
Uncontrolled Keywords: World Heritage, island ecology, First Nations, threatened species, climate change, sustainable tourism, co-management, multilevel governance, biosecurity, K'gari, Fraser Island
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410203 Ecosystem function
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1999 Other environmental policy, climate change and natural hazards > 199999 Other environmental policy, climate change and natural hazards not elsewhere classified
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180201 Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1902 Environmental policy, legislation and standards > 190203 Environmental education and awareness
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/coasts2030009
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/51052

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