Adaptive management of Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone in the Blue Mountains: is it occurring?

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Adaptive management is a prominent concept in natural resource management in Australia, heralded for its attention to the prioritisation and implementation of rehabilitation actions, and its acknowledgement of uncertainty and focus on “learning by doing”. To date, as part of adaptive management frameworks, little attention has been paid to monitoring and incorporating landscape components beyond a biological realm. Additionally, the application of adaptive management frameworks across biophysical and social scales is yet to be explored. Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone (THPSS), listed as endangered ecological communities (EEC) at the Commonwealth scale, are a form of upland swamp, positioned in the landscape above the headwaters of streams. The majority of THPSS are located within the Blue Mountains’ region. These swamps have been studied to varying degrees in the past with regards to their formation, vegetation assemblages and geomorphic condition. Whilst the physical condition of these important EEC provides insights for prioritisation and rehabilitation, there is little understanding of the current approaches to management, particularly the within and cross scalar influences from the Commonwealth to the micro-local scale. This paper will explore how factors, at a variety of scales, influence management decisions of these EEC, including threatened species legislation, river management and funding opportunities. Social factors are particularly influential at the micro-local and local scales, with much rehabilitation undertaken by Bushcare, Landcare and Swampcare groups. Consequently, there are significant disconnections from one scale to the next with regards to priorities and management, with little adaptive management evident beyond the micro-local scale.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 7th Australian Stream Management Conference
EditorsGeoff Vietz, Ian Rutherfurd, Rhiannon Hughes
Place of PublicationMelbourne
PublisherThe University of Melbourne
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9780734050380
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventAustralian Stream Management Conference (7th : 2014) - Townsville, QLD
Duration: 27 Jul 201430 Jul 2014


ConferenceAustralian Stream Management Conference (7th : 2014)
CityTownsville, QLD


  • adaptive management
  • upland swamps
  • rehabilitation
  • scale
  • context


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