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Foresighting

Three Mile Waterhole, Finke River. Photo: M Rodrigo

In 2009 the Lake Eyre Basin (LEB) Scientific Advisory Panel developed a knowledge strategy that identified the following key knowledge gaps:

Waterholes

Given the significance of waterholes to biodiversity and local communities, research is required to underpin sustainable management of these waterholes.

 

Flow interception and infiltration

Assess how changing vegetation cover and condition affects the quality and quantity of surface run-off and infiltration. The construction of levees, roads and culvert crossing impacts on downstream flow also needs to be investigated.

 

Foresighting activities

Understand the aspirations and values of the broader community and how these may change in the face of a changing climate and economy.

In December 2011, a Foresighting Workshop was held in Adelaide to consider the challenging questions and potential future trends, positive and negative, identified by participants at the LEB 2010 Biennial Conference. Some of the trends considered include sustained growth in mining and petroleum exploration and development, increasing tourism, a continuing and potentially greener pastoral industry, and a low carbon future under potential climate change. The Foresighting Workshop took these and other emerging forces and considered how they might intersect with each other, generating around 100 potential scenarios which were later refined to those most likely to negatively impact on what the community values about the Basin, and those that best articulate the most desired futures for the region.

Sunset on flooded Diamantina River, Birdsville.
Photo: A Emmott

The workshop initiated an exploration of the research, knowledge and actions needed to prepare ourselves for the most desirable or undesirable scenarios, in particular, identifying what information can help to alert us to concerning future trends. Critical thinking about how we direct our attention and resources towards the scenarios likely to have the greatest impact on the things we value the most about the Basin, was also undertaken.

Going hand-in-hand with the Strategic Adaptive Management process, an ever-improving understanding of the forces (socio-economic, ecological and other) that will make the most difference to creating a desirable future for the LEB, will help to shape future programs, projects and initiatives under the LEB Agreement.