Our regional communities are the heart of our primary industries. For many years these communities have innovated and adapted to challenges of all sorts – from erratic markets to severe droughts and floods. In future years, climate change will present many new and exceptional challenges, including an exacerbation of extreme weather and increased upward price pressure on carbon-intensive agribusiness inputs such as fertiliser and fuels. These challenges will threaten the sustainability and competitiveness of regional agribusiness supply chains and potentially our domestic food security. It is essential for our national wellbeing that we foster improvements in the socio-economic resilience of our regions so that they can better adapt to and manage the challenges ahead.
The Regional, Social and Economic Adaptation and Assessment theme of PIARN focuses on collating cutting edge research related to this complex topic. The theme is multidisciplinary and systems-orientated. It encompasses traditional academic disciplines such as agricultural and forestry economics, agribusiness supply chain management, regional planning and rural sociology, as well as emerging research areas such agricultural climate policy, carbon management, integrated resource management and the study of community resilience.
We seek to engage with primary industry researchers, policy makers and interested stakeholders from diverse sectors and locations. We are particularly interested in synthesising the current state of knowledge on the following research questions, and then developing an agenda of key areas for future research.
- What are the essential elements that will support the adaptive capacity and resilience of Australian regional communities to climate change?
- How can the resilience and adaptive capacity of Australian agribusiness supply chains to climate change be enhanced to support our national food security?
- How can carbon offset markets and policy be used to promote new enterprise development that supports the adaptive capacity and resilience of Australian agribusiness and regional communities to climate change?
In 2011 and 2012, the theme’s coordinating group is aiming to organise the compilation of a series of research papers on these topics. These papers will include peer-reviewed publications (e.g. a special issue of a highly regarded academic journal), policy briefs and a book of invited papers extending the research presented in the peer-reviewed literature in a style suitable for primary industry practitioners. We will also participate in the various conferences and workshops convened by PIARN and the other research theme groups.
The theme is coordinated by three researchers from the School of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the University of Queensland – Paul Dargusch, John Rochecouste and Francois Visser. We very much welcome the opportunity to collaborate and share ideas and research with PIARN members.