Soil Governance: Accessing Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives

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Tanya Marjoram Howard
Andrew Lawson


Soil provides the foundation for agricultural and environmental systems, and are subject to a complex governance regime of property rights and secondary impacts from industry and domestic land use. Complex natural resource management issues require approaches to governance that acknowledge uncertainty and complexity. Theories of next generation environmental governance assume that inclusion of diverse perspectives will improve reform directions and encourage behaviour change. This paper reports on a qualitative survey of an international workshop that brought together cross-disciplinary perspectives to address the challenges of soil governance. Results reveal the challenges of communicating effectively across disciplines. The findings suggest that strategies for improved soils governance must focus on increasing communications with community stakeholders and engaging land managers in designing shared governance regimes. The need for more conscious articulation of the challenges of cross-disciplinary environments is discussed and strategies for increasing research collaboration in soils governance are suggested. The identified need for more systematic approaches to cross-disciplinary learning, including reporting back of cross-disciplinary initiatives to help practitioners learn from past experience, forms part of the rationale for this paper.

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