Need and Opportunity: Addressing Diverse Stakeholders and Power in the Conflict over Toolangi State Forest, Victoria, Australia
Conflicts over the management and use of native forests in Australia have been defined as “acrimonious and intractable” (Dargavel, 1998, 25). The conflict over Toolangi State Forest, Victoria, is iconic of forest conflicts and remains unresolved. The conflict is heightening as the forest ecosystem and species are endangered, the native forestry industry is threatened due to reduced supply, and activism to protect the forest responds to changing situations and contexts. In the background, there are diverse stakeholders who feel unrecognised and excluded from decision-making. Contemporary politics and policy processes have been described as adversarial (Nelson and Pettit 2004) and warrant analysis from new perspectives to provide insight into the conflict and recommendations for improvement in policy processes that would recognise diverse stakeholders (including the environment), engender procedural justice, and achieve just outcomes for all. Environmental justice provides a framework for analysing conflict and associated resolution processes through its principle concerns of distributive, procedural, and recognition justice. However, recognition justice has been described as under-theorised (Schlosberg 2004), and intersectional feminism is used in this analysis to enhance the concept of recognition. With their combined focus on justice, recognition, power, knowledge, and change from the bottom-up, environmental justice and intersectional feminism present strong frameworks for analysing conflict and policy related to native forests and natural resource management.
Thank you to Associate Professor Anitra Nelson, Associate Professor Wendy Steele, and Professor Jean Hillier for reviewing drafts of this chapter. This work has been supported by a Victorian Environmental Assessment Council Student Scholarship 2016 and an Australian Research Council Discovery Project (DP150100299), led by RMIT University, Centre for Urban Research in partnership with Griffith University, Macquarie University, and Curtin University.
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