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Using Spatial Data to Explore Landholder Awareness and Concern about Dryland Salinity

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This paper draws upon research in Victoria's Goulburn Broken Catchment exploring landholder responses to dryland salinity. It has been assumed that part of the explanation for limited adoption of recommended practices was that landholders were unaware of the extent of dryland salinity. Socio-economic data from a mail survey was combined in a Geographic Information System (GIS) with other layers, including the location of discharge sites and depth to saline ground water. Comparisons of expert maps and landholder identified salinity sites suggested that landholders in the upper catchment had excellent knowledge of the current extent of salinity on their property. At the same time, the expert maps failed to predict half of the saline-affected sites identified by landholders. It seems that the extensive community education effort undertaken in this region had been successful in raising salinity awareness. Our research also highlighted that most landholders were not concerned about the impacts of dryland salinity and appear to believe they can 'live with salt'. This is an important issue because the small, diffused amounts of salt exported from these properties in the upper catchment are/will have a substantial impact downstream. The research methodology and findings have important policy and management implications, and these are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2002

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