Symbolic and Sustainable Landscapes: Constructing the Triple Bottom Line

Dr. Sarah Tufts Rickson,
Prof Roy Rickson,
Prof David Burch
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Symbolic and ecological landscapes contextualize resource management strategies of farm families in Australia. These strategies, in turn, are critical components of agricultural production, profitability, the persistence of Australian farm enterprises in current markets and to their sustainability across multidimensional landscapes. Effective resource management in any industry entails negotiating often competing, mutually exclusive goals around such issues as what is to be sustained and at what cost. Attempts to achieve sustainable development in rural areas must take into account the centrality of landscape issues and the importance of addressing collective and individual attitudes about dimensions of sustainability for effective outcomes. In our survey of over 250 farm women strategies to deal with the uncertainty of fluctuations of market and farm input and strategies of survival and stewardship for the viability of livelihood and lifestyle were compounded for these decision makers by the needs for increased productivity, short term profits, and long term environmental sustainability. This survey investigated resource management decision making and agency of farm women; for half of these, decision making was negotiated under constraints of contract with global and national agribusiness. Of particular importance for this paper are the survey results that articulated key values and dilemmas of strategic planning for effective resource management in a restructured agricultural sector along different dimensions of sustainability. These women were actively involved in developing strategies to cope with and to change resource management decisions of their family farm enterprise to sustain their soil, their farms, and their families…and their symbolic and ecological landscapes.

Keywords: Symbolic Landscapes, Farm Women, Sustainable Agriculture, Agroforestry, Natural Resource Management
Stream: Social Sustainability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Symbolic and Sustainable Landscapes

Dr. Sarah Tufts Rickson

Senior Lecturer in Social Science, School of Arts,Media and Culture, Griffith University,Nathan, Queensland 4111

Prof Roy Rickson

Professor, Australian School of Environmental Studies, Griffith University,Nathan,Queensland 4111

Prof David Burch

Griffith University

Ref: S06P0177