Date of Award

1-1-2001

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Faculty

Faculty of Communications, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Pierre Horwitz

Second Advisor

Dr Jackie Alder

Abstract

Over the last decade, restoration ecology has been considered a new paradigm for dealing with many of the environmental problems of river systems. It is also recognized that management decisions have a greater chance of being successful if they are based on a thorough understanding of a concept or a plan. A review of current studies on river restoration and river restoration planning revealed that managers and scientists have put a substantial emphasis on ecological science and technology in restoration, while many sociopolitical and economic elements have been de-emphasized Besides this, understanding and experiences of river restoration, especially those of river managers and communities, is not well known so far. This study commenced with the development of a framework for river restoration planning, based on a review of current knowledge of river restoration and planning processes. The framework was then used as an instrument to be compared with the understanding and experiences of river managers in two different countries. The aim of this study was to highlight the differences in acceptability of river restoration and river restoration planning between two different river systems in two different countries, and develop a framework for river restoration planning that includes these differences. Using a heuristic inquiry, administrators responsible for two rivers, the Kalgan River in southwest Western Australia and the Liao River in northeast China, were interviewed to test if managers have comparable understandings of river restoration. This study revealed that the understanding of the river restoration concept among never managers who participated in this research is influenced by socio-political, economic and ecological perspectives. For example, in Australia, managers see river restoration according to the kind of ecological benefits people will derive from it. To maintain the sustainable development of the river system is the main goal of river restoration In contrast. In China, river managers would like to put more efforts on maintaining the balance between social, economic and ecological development, although, in the short term, pollution control is the first crucial step for river management. The study also indicated that planning is influenced by different understandings of the concept of river restoration, by the existing administrative structures for river management, and by public participation in river management planning. For example, public participation plays an important role in river restoration planning in Australia, while in China, public participation was not considered appropriate or practical in the formulation of a plan even though more and more managers recognize its need and significance. The final result of this study, a framework for river restoration planning, will supply some basic management guidelines for river managers. Future research can be conducted by using data from a project river to put the results of this study into practice, where case studies can be examined to test the robustness of the framework.

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