Volume 1 Issue 2 (2005): New Challenges for Research Practice: Natural Resource Management in Australia
Main Articles

Introduction of Social Sciences in Australian Natural Resource Management Agencies

Alice Roughley
Land & Water Australia, GPO Box 2182, Canberra ACT 2601, AUSTRALIA
David Salt
Ywords, 56 Limestone Avenue, Ainslie ACT 2602, AUSTRALIA
Published October 17, 2005
  • natural resource management,
  • integration,
  • social science,
  • Australia


This paper examines the integration, from 1978 to 2002, of six social scientists in five Australian natural resource management agencies: CSIRO Australia, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Murray Darling Basin Commission, the Western Australian Social Impact Unit, and the Queensland Social Impact Assessment Unit. All but one of the social scientists in the study occupied the first formal social science position in the respective agency. The organisational arrangements for integration, the roles of the social scientists and achievements of social science programs in those agencies illustrate a number of integration approaches and insights for effectively integrating social and natural science. Insights emanating from this research will be useful to inform future natural resource management that avoids integration failures. This paper illustrates both significant impediments to integration in practice and positive examples of integrated multidisciplinary approaches in natural resource management.