This intensive course introduces you to the inter-disciplinary nature of natural resource management in the context of the Blue Mountains protected conservation area. Natural resource management is complex, based on significant uncertainty, and presents a wide range of challenges. The challenge of managing dynamic ecosystems with ongoing biodiversity change is addressed, along with balancing the ever-changing economic, political and socio-cultural demands. At the site level, you will see firsthand in the Blue Mountains, active management of threats is important for conservation goals to be met. You will go into the field for three days with professionals from government management agencies and with local ecologists, to confront on-ground management challenges such as fire, introduced species and continuation of Aboriginal cultural practices.These topics are explored using an interdisciplinary problem orientation framework and social process mapping. You will explore the social processes of what is taking place in managing the environment, to unearth and work with the multitude of understandings, opinions, differences, tensions, assumptions and contexts that emerge, and this exploration helps to clarify our purpose as environmental managers. This way of working develops awareness and self-reflection, and enhances the understanding of our patterns of thought that shape our behaviours, defaults, and our values and beliefs. The goal is to engage with and understand our differences so that we can bring about more effective decision processes. No prior knowledge of ecosystems science or management is required. We target the Blue Mountains protected conservation area as a case study that is facing a host of challenges in our rapidly changing world. You are required to participate in bushwalking and a level of fitness is required.
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