Investigating the uniqueness of 'The Collective' in managing the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary (AIBS)

Author: Tamala Zembeni

Zembeni, Tamala, 2019 Investigating the uniqueness of 'The Collective' in managing the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary (AIBS), Flinders University, College of Science and Engineering

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The desire to protect endangered species has led to implementation of different initiatives and adoption of different approaches to management of natural resource areas. Both resident and migratory shorebirds using the coastal wetlands north of the City of Adelaide have been recognised to be in need of protection. In order to protect the shorebirds, the government of South Australia through the Department of Environment and Water (DEW) created the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary in 2014 formalised through the creation of the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary - Winaityiwinaityi Pangkara National Park in 2016. DEW decided to use an innovative collaborative approach to managing the sanctuary through a group called The Collective. The Collective was a group of people brought together to help manage the AIBS. They were from different backgrounds representing a range of interests. As such the membership of The Collective had a broad range of expertise to manage the affairs of the AIBS. The approach was claimed to be new and different. So, this study investigated the value of the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary, what constituted The Collective and how it functioned, how new or different The Collective was from co-management approaches and if The Collective is valuable for environmental management initiatives. Based on information from nineteen Most Significant Change Stories and seven interviews provided by members of The Collective and key stakeholders the study established that people see a huge amount of value of the AIBS. The AIBS is valuable to different people for different reasons which include providing benefits to shorebirds and humans and so it was really important to have different voices in the development of the management plan as well as management of the AIBS. This study indicated that The Collective approach used to manage the AIBS is not unique to other co-management approaches that involve a diverse range of groups and people in the management of natural resources. By comparing the findings of this study to a suite of principles of co-management from the literature which concentrate on recognising diversity and harnessing capacity of different stakeholders and some elements of co-management which indicate that there is learning-by-doing and power differences that exist in co-management arrangements the study established that The Collective fits in the concept of co-management. The literature suggests that there are principles that guide co-management arrangements such as recognition of different values and interests of stakeholders, ensuring equity, capitalising on partnerships and different stakeholder abilities. The findings show that these specific principles were met by The Collective which involved different groups of people with vested interests in the AIBS (including the government) providing them with an equal opportunity limited to contribute to the affairs of the AIBS depending on their expertise, interests and abilities. These are beneficial outcomes from The Collective. So, participants in this study appreciated the Collective concept for various reasons. In contrast, the functioning of The Collective was limited because power was held by the government and it was a top-down approach. So, whilst The Collective is no longer functioning, this study has the potential to inform future managers of the AIBS. The study may also benefit management of other natural resources in terms of planning and engaging with a broad membership base.

Keywords: The Collective, Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary (AIBS), co-management, Most Significant Change Stories, natural resources, natural resource areas, natural resource management, environmental management, uniqueness, collective impact

Subject: Environmental management thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2019
School: College of Science and Engineering
Supervisor: Associate Prof. Beverley Clarke