Research, Connect, Protect



New regionalism and nature conservation: Lessons from South East Queensland, Australia

Ann Peterson, Clive A. Mcalpine, Doug Ward, Suzanne Rayner

The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane Q4072, Australia

Environmental Protection Agency, 160 Ann Street, Brisbane Q4001, Australia



New regionalism emerged in the 1990s in response to the impacts of globalization and metropolitan growth. It represents an amalgam of concepts related to regional planning and its key characteristics include: a focus on specific geographic regions and place making; an active approach based on improved governance arrangements; the adoption of more holistic and integrated frameworks that incorporate environmental concerns; inclusion of normative approaches; acknowledgement of the importance of regional design and physical planning. We present a critical analysis of new regionalism at the micro-regional level (10,000km2) in relation to nature conservation in South East Queensland, Australia. Several important gaps between the rhetoric and reality of new regionalism in this region were identified. Key lessons drawn from our analysis include the need to: link biodiversity assessment processes with implementation processes and to collaborate fully with all stakeholders; mainstream outcomes into complementary planning processes; ensure holistic and integrated approaches that incorporate adaptive management; utilize a range of knowledge frameworks; adaptively monitor and manage to ensure the adoption of the most effective mix of planning mechanisms to achieve regional nature conservation goals.