NRM Issue in Australia

Discuss about the NRM Issue in Australia.

NRM stands for Natural Resources Management. Natural resources include not only flora and fauna of a country, but also land, water and soil of a geographic location. Management of natural resources includes administering the above listed resources so as to enhance the quality of life of present generation and at the same time, sustaining these resources for future generation as well. In an ecosystem, biotic and abiotic components interact with each other and have a significant impact on one another. Same way, people living in a society also interacts and even uses natural resources. Coming generations will also require these resources for betterment of their lives. Hence, this calls for an appropriate water management program, planning for landscape utilization, preserving bio- diversity and maintaining sustainable use of such resources. It is also crucial to take proper care of flora and fauna of a country so as to facilitate easy functioning of some industries like tourism, agriculture, mining, pisciculture, and forestry. Natural resources management is also known as environmental management having complete focus on maintaining our ecology via scientific understanding of the issues and their solutions (Buchy & Race, 2001).

NRM Issues

The most prominent issue related to NRM, especially in a country like Australia is to preserve bio- diversity and natural surroundings of a place. This will be discussed in detail in later parts of the report. Besides that, NRM is also concerned about pest creatures and insidious species and their impact on environment. It also works to conserve natural habitats including coastal and aquatic ecosystems. In addition to this, water management and optimum land utilization are the most critical concerns of NRM (Priskin, 2001).

Preserving And Enhancing Bio- Diversity And Native Habitat

Introduction

Bio- diversity is a short name of biological diversity. Diversity stands for variety of something or particularly, for bio, i.e. living creatures. Hence, bio- diversity stands for all the species of plants, animals, humans and other micro- organisms living in an ecosystem(Specht, 2014). Different species of plants, animals and other organisms are adapted to different environmental conditions and are inhabited in those areas. Those places are known as natural or native habitat of that particular species or organism. The term is more technically used to describe a zone of an organism where it is easily adaptable to the environmental conditions and conveniently arrange food, shelter and mates around them(Lee & Martin, 1988). The characteristics of habitat are collectively known as natural environment or physical environment. Preservation and enhancement of bio- diversity and native habitat is critical to a country’s sustainable development. Reason being bio- diversity is the foundation of life. After all, a smaller part which is made up of a larger part is always vital for the entire system to be efficient. Here, we are discussing about an NRM issue in a state of Australia named Queensland (Arthington, Naiman, McClain, & Nilsson, 2010).

NRM Issue In Queensland, Australia- Koalas

Koalas belong to fauna category whose native habitat is Australia. It is sometimes, also known as koala bear. It is an anarboreal marsupial and an herbivores animal. It is mostly seen in coastal areas of states like Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. The most fascinating features of this animal are its tailless body with large, round head, fluffy ears and furry body. It is discerned by its silver grey and brown color.  They are the only species available from the animal group named as Phascolarctos. Hence, their existence is a big issue mainly in Queensland. The major problems associated in this regard are discussed below in detail (Price, Zhao, Feng, & Hocknull, 2009).

Koalas are so magnificent species that they are contributing more than AUD 1 billion every year to the GDP of Australian economy by way of tourism industry. The figure itself evidences the significance of this species to be preserved at the top most priority. But the environmental issues pose a big question mark on their existence. Their population is rapidly decreasing in most of their natural habitats. Research studies show that this is the hottest issue in bio- regions of Queensland New South Wales. The main reason of getting this species endangered is the climatic change due to global warming. This species need a cool place to be adapted to the natural surroundings. Due to acid rain issue and heat waves, it is becoming difficult for koala bear to survive. This shows the critical need to conserve this part of fauna wealth of the country. If this issue is not resolved soon, the most lovable species may extinct in near future (Rhodes, McAlpine, Lunney, & Callaghan, 2005). 

Key Institutional Arrangements To Manage The Issue

  • It is the most common issue of late 1930. Much of the native habitat of koala was cleared and the land was used for the purpose of agriculture, urbanization, poaching and hunting, or due to drought, flood and other natural calamities. This led to decline of species to a great extent. That is why state governments introduced various measures to conserve the species and fur trade was completely terminated and those who did were penalized after that.
  • In South Australia, which was a native habitat of koalas, the genus got extinct, this called for re- introduction programs to bring fauna wealth back to the country. Hence, in twentieth century, koalas from various places were moved and brought back to Australia to re- establish the species. The reforms were also made to re- introduce the species in the regions other than native habitats of koalas.
  • The government of Queensland has signed and passed legislation as a part of their five- year plan named under Koala Coast Protection Plan. The first policy was made in 1994 and it was re- evaluated in 1997.
  • In 2006, another plan was implemented under the Management Program of 2006-2016. The movement to save Koala was named as Nature Conservation Plan, 2006, which was revised in 2008. The results of the plan were not so outstanding because Koala crisis of Queensland continued even after that.
  • In 2010, the Australian government has allowed to list the Koala crisis under their national environmental law referred to as the EPBC Act, 1999 (Environmental Protection and Bio- diversity Conservation).
  • (National Koala Conservation and Management Strategy, 2014) 

Key Stakeholders That Affects Management Of This Issue

In private sector, key stakeholders of this NRM issue of Queensland concerning the existence of Koala species include mainly tourism industry. Private tour operators and travel agents will be affected highly due to extinction of such fauna wealth that is attracting billions towards the gross domestic product of Australia. Besides that, those who earn their livelihood by way of agriculture or engage into hunting activities will be affected by the institutional arrangements to save koala.

In public sector, key stakeholder is the Australian Government. It owes the responsibility to conserve and enhance the country’s wealth. As we have already discussed, flora and fauna are also a country’s wealth or rather, we should say natural wealth. It requires due significance since it cannot be recovered again, once it is lost or extinct. Announcement of koala to be a vulnerable species is a great cause of concern for the country. Besides, it also impacts the GDP of Australia. It will lead to reduction in attracting tourists to the country.

In community sector, natural environment is the key stakeholder since it will be the one to get affected the most by the extinction of such a species (Gavin, Stewart, Glover, Strickland, & Holmes, 2013). 

Conceptual Model Showing Relationships Between Various Institutional Arrangements

A conceptual model refers to a proper design or layout of all the plans, policies and strategies that have been adopted to fulfill a certain task. It gives an overall view on the steps taken regarding the issue concerned. It is a beneficial concept to present 360 degree workings that have been done yet. It also assists in evaluating the vitality of the entire program and suggests whether the program is efficient or requires further addition or amendments. If it requires further improvements, then it becomes easy to ascertain where we can add further plans or policies (Moore, Severn, & Millar, 2006).

The conceptual model given below suggests what has been done so far by the Australian government to address this natural resource management issue. It shows a list of plans and policies that have been implemented so far to conserve koala. It shows the relationship among various legislations and strategies that have been introduced under institutional arrangements to resolve the issue under study.The plans, policies and legislations that have been used in this conceptual model are described below in detail.

Koala research grant programs

The government of Queensland had funded $3.13 million to resolve the issue in 2012. The plan was aimed at enhancing the quality of native habitat of koala bear. Although this program has been closed but it performed well in stimulating the scope for koala bear in few priority areas.

Koala Rescue and Rehabilitation

The koala rescue and rehabilitation grant program has funded over $800,000 for this campaign to save koala bear. It aimed at working towards building rescue centers and rehabilitation plans to transport koalas bear to safer places. Its main operations were conducted in areas of Queensland. This program has been closed. 

State government supported Community Infrastructure Koala Conservation Policy

The purpose of this policy was to check and ascertain that the funds and infrastructure provided by the government to save koala bear is used effectively and efficiently. It identifies in which areas infrastructure is used to conserve country’s natural wealth and confirms that spending and investing are reaping good results.

Science and research

Policies and strategies

Advocacy

Legislations

Bilateral agreements

Conserving and restoring koala population in fragmented landscapes

National koala conservation and management strategy, 2009- 2014.

The koala- saving our national icon- parliament of Australia

Koala protection act, 2015

The commonwealth announced ‘ caring for our country’, 2008

The conservation of  widely distributed species in Queensland

The south Australian koala conservation and management strategy, 2012- 2017

Koala habitat- Australian koala foundation

Nature conservation act, 1992

Natural resource management ministerial council, 2010

Identifying multi- scale habitat factors influencing koala

Logan’s koala conservation strategic plan, 2013

Approval of Queensland’s conservation council

Environment protection and bio- diversity conservation act, 2014

 

Table 1: Conceptual Model 

Institutional Challenges And Opportunities

Major challenges faced by the government and other stakeholders regarding this issue include natural disasters. One cannot do anything to stop a natural calamity. Droughts and floods are beyond the control of a government or any other institution. They affect the flora and fauna of a geographic location and are great cause of their vulnerability. It poses a challenge in front of the government to minimize the adverse impact of such disasters to save the natural wealth of their country. Other issue is fatal diseases that are seen in koalas. A disease named Chlamydia has killed many koalas in Queensland and South Australia. The challenge posed by stakeholders to manage this issue is that koalas carry this disease without showing any clinical symptoms. So, it is difficult to detect the cause and effect relationship. The ultimate result is the only evidence that a chronic disease is deteriorating country’s natural wealth.

Besides facing such complex challenges in solving this NRM issue of Queensland, many private institutions, non- governmental organizations, state undertakings, etc. are working towards solving this issue. The reason is that they get many opportunities by doing so. For example, government will get enhanced GDP by saving koalas. NGOs will be able to fulfill their objective of social welfare. The entire community will be benefitted by conserving natural environment.

The best opportunity will be faced by tourism industry which is already discussed. Besides that, business organizations get an opportunity to improve their goodwill by including this issue in their CSR programs (Pini & Haslam Mckenzie, 2006). 

Conclusion

To conclude the report, it is worth mentioning that this issue of Queensland regarding Koala is very critical for the state and for the entire country as well. It should be addressed at the topmost priority. However, there are certain institutional arrangements that have been carried out to solve the issue. But these plans and policies are not enough and are not showing satisfactory results since the problem still persists. It can be understood that there are various challenges faced in the management of this issue but at the same time it provides many opportunities for the country, industries and business organizations. Hence, it owes a vital significance. 

Recommendations To Improve Management

  • The main cause of vulnerability of koala is that they are not able to survive in their native habitat due to global warming and other environmental causes that are responsible for heating up of the places. So, first recommendation is to introduce measure to check global warming on priority basis.
  • Other step can be taken of introducing sanctuaries and wildlife parks to conserve the species and provide them an adaptable environment to facilitate their survival, growth and most importantly, their existence (Cork, Clark, & Mazur, 2000). 

References

Arthington, Á. H., Naiman, R. J., McClain, M. E., & Nilsson, C. (2010). Preserving the biodiversity and ecological services of rivers: new challenges and research opportunities. Freshwater Biology, 55(1), 1-16.

Buchy, M., & Race, D. (2001). The twists and turns of community participation in natural resource management in Australia: What is missing? Journal of environmental planning and management, 44(3), 293-308.

Cork, S. J., Clark, T. W., & Mazur, N. (2000). Conclusions and recommendations for koala conservation. Conservation biology, 14(3), 702-704.

Gavin, L., Stewart, B., Glover, J., Strickland, J., & Holmes, T. (2013). Climate Change Management in SEQ| Phase 2.

Lee, A. K., & Martin, R. W. (1988). The koala: a natural history. Univ of New South Wales.

Moore, S. A., Severn, R. C., & Millar, R. (2006). A conceptual model of community capacity for biodiversity conservation outcomes. Geographical Research, 44(4), 361-371.

National Koala Conservation and Management Strategy. (2014). National Koala Conservation and Management Strategy. Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.

Pini, B., & Haslam Mckenzie, F. (2006). Challenging local government notions of community engagement as unnecessary, unwanted and unproductive: case studies from rural Australia. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 8(1), 27-44.

Price, G. J., Zhao, J. X., Feng, Y. X., & Hocknull, S. A. (2009). ew records of Plio-Pleistocene koalas from Australia: palaeoecological and taxonomic implications. Records of the Australian Museum, 61(1), 39-8.

Priskin, J. (2001). Assessment of natural resources for nature-based tourism:: the case of the Central Coast Region of Western Australia. Tourism Management, 22(6), 637-648.

Rhodes, J. R., McAlpine, C. A., Lunney, D., & Callaghan, J. (2005). Evaluating natural resource management strategies under parameter uncertainty: an outranking approach applied to koala conservation. Modsim 2005: International Congress On Modelling and Simulation: Advances and Applications for Management and Decision Making, pp. 2540-2546.

Specht, R. L. (2014). Management of Biodiversity in Australia. Journal of Environment and Ecology, 5(2), 186-205.

 

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