Understanding the nature of relationships…

29 March 2018

Effectively managing natural resources depends on the people who are involved in the management process. Often, large and complex social networks develop around natural resource management (NRM) projects, and analysis of these networks can inform better way to connect and include stakeholders in project design and implementation. A new paper by Hub researcher Vanessa Adams, based on a NERP project, has investigated the informal and formal relationships that make up these networks in the Northern Territory’s Daly River catchment. Social network analysis has been used to assess NRM interactions before, but this new publication has included ratings of evidence and perception rankings to deepen the understanding of the bonds within these networks. Out of the five types of NRM service networks identified, the technical advice/knowledge network was the only one that people associated with free choice – meaning that connections within that network were usually formed voluntarily rather than out of necessity. Network connections that are freely chosen are associated with beneficial characteristics, such as transparency and willingness to collaborate. This research suggests using effective information dissemination and actively creating better networks to improve understanding between points in NRM networks. Read more in the blog post accompanying the paper. The current NESP Northern Hub project Multiple objective planning in northern Australia is building on this type of research.

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