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Addressing Uncertainty in Multiple Use Landscapes of Desert Australia

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Davies, Jocelyn
Conference: Survival of the Commons: Mounting Challenges and New Realities, the Eleventh Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bali, Indonesia
Conf. Date: June 19-23, 2006
Date: 2006
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/2104
Sector: Grazing
Region: Pacific and Australia
Subject(s): IASC
land tenure and use
arid regions
rangelands
indigenous institutions
Abstract: "This paper focuses on pastoral rangelands of arid Australia - multiple use landscapes, where extensive land uses such as livestock grazing and self drive tourism co-exist with indigenous peoples' access to and use of their traditional lands. Legal recognition of indigenous native title rights started only in the early 1990s. Native title overlays an array of 'terra nullius' institutions and its meaning continues to be contested. This paper explores how a polycentric change process has been progressively crafting more equitable and effective institutions for multiple use of rangelands that are responsive to the rights and interests of native title groups as well as those of other actors. "In South Australia, native title groups decided in 2000 to participate in a statewide approach to resolution of their native title claims with the vision that it would restructure the state's institutions 'with native title built in'. Five years on there has been some significant progress on this aim on pastoral lands, as well as other sectors, through negotiation at local and statewide levels. A strategic two-tiered approach to the negotiations has enabled legislative change to create incentives for local agreements and address barriers to sustainability of agreements. One of its hallmarks is its focus on building relationships between people. The approach has been effective in harnessing leadership for change and in being responsive to local actors' authority, concerns and accommodations about co- existing rights and interests. The approach is resource hungry and demanding of negotiating skills and innovation in approaches to entrenched issues and interests. However it is not only cheaper than the likely cost of litigation but, unlike adversarial strategies, is providing opportunities to develop partnerships for improved economic and social outcomes into the future."

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