Riparian management in pastoral agricultural areas : constraints and opportunities for effective policy implementation
The quality of water and aquatic habitat in rivers flowing through pastoral agricultural land is degraded. This degradation is associated with loss of riparian (riverbank) vegetation. The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) requires the sustainable management of natural and physical resources. This includes preserving the natural character of rivers and their margins and enhancing water quality. Local authorities, which have responsibility for implementing the RMA, recognise that the presence of riparian vegetation assists in meeting the above requirements. Most regional councils have developed policies promoting the retention and enhancement of riparian vegetation and have proposed methods of implementing these policies. Regional riparian management policy is based on a large body of scientific knowledge about the role of riparian vegetation in improving water quality. However, there is limited input from social science research into policy development. Consequently, proposed methods of implementing riparian management policy do not reflect theoretical insights from social scientists, nor the underlying social and cultural context in which policy is implemented. In their present form, the proposed methods are unlikely to result in long-term behaviour change by farmers. Such change is necessary for the requirements of the RMA to be met. Opportunities for input from social science research into sustainable land and water research and management are identified. It is recommended that further research be carried out to establish which factors influence the beliefs, attitudes and behaviour of farmers in relation to riparian management: and whether these factors vary between different farmer types or between farmers with different social or situational characteristics. If carried out, this research would provide the knowledge and information needed to design effective methods of implementing riparian management policy which will result in behaviour change by farmers.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsriparian management; riparian vegetation; pastoral agricultural land; Resource Management Act 1991; water quality improvement; integrated environmental management; riparian management policy
Fields of Research050205 Environmental Management; 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity; 160506 Education Policy
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