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|Title:||Examining the assumptions underlying landcare|
de Lacy, T.
|Abstract:||Landcare is seen as an emerging Australian success story and involves a considerable investment of public and private resources. While there has been some work assessing Landcare effectiveness, the assumptions underlying program logic have not been widely considered. Whilst there is widespread community support for Landcare and considerable evidence of program effectiveness (Curtis et al 1993a; Curtis & De Lacy 1994; Curtis 1995), there is some debate about the validity of assumptions implicit in this approach (Martin et al 1992; Vanclay 1992). In this paper, the findings of recent research conducted by us are briefly presented in order to examine the theoretical assumptions underpinning the Landcare Program. Readers are referred to recent journal publications for more complete discussion of specific research instruments and findings (Curtis & De Lacy, 1995a; Curtis & De Lacy, 1995b; Curtis et al, 1995). Evaluators can turn to a number of sources in their effort to unravel program theory: they can approach program staff, clients and other stakeholders for their views; they can review literature on the program under scrutiny or similar programs; they can examine program documentation; and they can observe program operation (Chen 1990; Rossi & Freeman 1985). Given the lack of explicit program goals, the diversity of stakeholder opinions about Landcare Program objectives, and the heterogeneity of program implementation at the local level, considerable energy was devoted to unravelling program logic. This task was accomplished through: (1) an examination of State (DCE 1992) and Federal (ASCC 1991) Landcare Program documents and relevant literature (Farley & Toyne 1989; Campbell 1991; Campbell 1992); (2) utilising our, and specifically Curtis' intimate knowledge of Landcare group activities in north east Victoria; (3) personal contacts with stakeholders at local, regional, state and federal scales; and (4) using information collected through the state-wide group activities report process (Curtis et al 1993a; Curtis 1995). It was determined that the key assumptions underlying the Community Landcare Program were that with limited government funding of a self- help program, Landcare group action will facilitate a process of community participation that will mobilise a large proportion of the rural population and produce more aware, informed, skilled and adaptive resource managers with a stronger stewardship or land ethic and thereby result in the adoption of improved management practices and assist the move to more sustainable resource use.|
|Journal Title:||Rural Society|
|Appears in Collections:||Hunter Local Land Services|
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