Publication Details

Klepeis, P. & Gill, N. (2016). The paradox of engagement: Land stewardship and invasive weeds in amenity landscapes. In L. E. Taylor & P. T. Hurley (Eds.), A Comparative Political Ecology of Exurbia: Planning, Environmental Management, and Landscape Change (pp. 221-243). Switzerland: Springer.


In New South Wales, Australia, rural landscapes are undergoing profound change as a result of exurbanization. Newcomers-amenity migrants-are drawn to the scenic beaches, forests, and open landscape character of this part of Australia near Sydney and they join existing communities of long-term residents, notably ranchers involved in dairy, beef, and other types of primary agricultural production. The rural to exurban transition is stimulating both intended and unintended socio-ecological changes, especially the proliferation of invasive weeds, which are considered to be a top national priority as they threaten Australia's agricultural economy. Drawing on interview and survey research from three case studies in New South Wales, locations where an influx of exurbanites has led to mixed landscapes of production and consumption, we explore landowners' diverse environmental ideologies, the degree to which they collaborate with one another, and their specific land-use practices. Results show that an overwhelming majority of both exurbanites and ranchers express concerns about weeds, but there is a marked lack of coordinated engagement on invasive species between the two types of groups. This chapter is an example of social disengagement over land-use and land-cover change, rather than competition or cooperation, and contributes to a political ecological understanding of the co-construction of social relations and land management regimes.



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