Dr Siwan lovett gave a talk to Cranfield University about the foundation of Australia’s first Rver Restoration Centre (ARRC) http://www.arrc.com.au
They key is the empowerment of local communities to take care of their Riparian habitats and to develop the capacity for local communities to exercise that power. It was important to identify and give voice to all stakeholders, espcially those that don’t have power, such as aboriginies. This sounded good territory for soft OR:Â Problem Structuring Methods, Soft Systems Methodology and Multi-Criteria Decision Making methods.
There are questions about some tools concerningÂ anthropocentrism and mechanistic additivity.Â In the first case we neglect that species are worth conserving regardless of mankind’s value of them.Â In the second case we can neglect the fact that viable ecosystems are worth more than the sum of their parts.
A fascinating challenge is that of applied multi-disciplinary science in an academic setting.Â Can the centre both deliver sustainable change at a community level as well as generate high impact research hits, which are the standard measure of academic excellence.
The communication of scienceÂ will beÂ key to their success. Some scientists are good at this and should be encouraged, but on other occassions it takes someone else. An example of the resistance to anyting ‘not invented here’ crops up with each stakeholder requiring the same information, but presented in their own style, e.g. sheep farmers will not accept litreature prepared for dairy farmers.