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Assessing the social impacts of extensive resource use activities

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Extensive forms of resource use are rarely subject to detailed environmental and social assessment. This paper outlines a potential methodology for assessment of the social impacts of extensive resource use activities based on the Pressure-State-Impact-Response (PSIR) model of integrated indicator development. It then tests this methodology through a case study of changed water flow regimes in Central Queensland's Fitzroy River catchment. While resource degradation associated with interruptions to flow was expected to force all resource users to face higher costs and greater uncertainty, negative social impacts were particularly concentrated among vulnerable groups and downstream industries. Extension of the PSIR framework and methodology proved useful in linking social and biophysical research and would thus appear to offer some potential as a model for incorporating social concerns within natural resource decision making.
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Keywords: integrated resource management; social impact assessment; social indicators

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Research School of Social Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia 2: Institute for Health and Social Science Research, Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Health, Central Queensland University, Bundaberg, QLD, Australia

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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