Engaging with a Social Ecological System: The Swamp

  • Andrea RawlukEmail author
  • Ruth Beilin
  • Helena Bender
  • Rebecca Ford


In this chapter, we present Tarerer/Kelly Swamp. This swamp is located in south-west Victoria, Australia. It is a local landscape and the location and place for our illustration of ‘adaptive doing’, described in subsequent chapters. We begin this chapter with the everyday, and the usual textbook way, of describing a social ecological system. Through outlining the social and biophysical settings of the landscape separately, we demonstrate how the social and the ecological are generally isolated from each other. To further our understanding of Tarerer/Kelly Swamp, we present a collection of narratives gathered from people who live and work around or near this site. These locals shared with us what they know about the Swamp, what they envisioned the future to be for it in 100 years, and what they desired the future to be for it. This chapter is the basis for examining how social ecological system literature and practice can overcome disciplinary boundaries and more holistically engage with local narratives of practice in the landscape to reveal new insights and opportunities for facilitating change towards sustainability.


Social ecological systems Swamp Narrative 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Rawluk
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ruth Beilin
    • 1
  • Helena Bender
    • 1
  • Rebecca Ford
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Ecosystem and Forest SciencesUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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