School of Geography - Theses
Now showing items 1-12 of 758
Farmers’ responses to non-chemical-fertilizer-utilization policy in the source region of the middle route of the South-to-North Water Transfer project
The water shortage is a major issue to constrict the development of North China, especially Beijing. The South-to-North Water Transfer project was constructed to solve this issue, by diverting sufficient water from the southern part of China to North China. One of the water protection policies was issued by the Chinese government is the Non-Chemical-Fertilizer-Utilization Policy. This policy will influence the farmers living in the source regions of the middle route of this hydrological project. The aims of this thesis are to investigate the response of these farmers in their daily lives and to understand how the local farmers arrive at the final consequences in this instance. Three questions are proposed: 1) How will those farmers respond to this non-chemical-fertilizer-utilization policy? 2) What are the impacts of this policy? 3) What does the factor influence their responses? This thesis applied plenty of interdisciplinary theories to explain the farmers’ responses comprehensively, mainly from two perspectives the attitude and behavior of them. The research questions are solved by analyzing the data collected from a case study located in the source region. The main research methods used in this thesis are semi-structured interviews and questionnaire surveys, supplied by the direct observation in fieldwork and the secondary source from the internet. The findings state that the responses of farmers towards the policy are various, three main responses are detected, the resistance, the conformity, and the anti-compliance. Even though they hold different attitudes, the ultimate consequence of behavior is the same. No one obeys the policy. The thesis finds there is a change in the implementation of the policy, consequently, the results of the responses in the two phases are different. The finding concludes the changes in the agriculture structure in this village. The thesis also reveals the main factors influencing the response of farmers, and they are economically rational individuals.
Estuarine beach morphology as influenced by geology: an investigation into the morphological history and processes of the St Leonards Coastline
Estuarine beaches are understudied, and consequently, are often managed ineffectively. Due to climatic changes, coastlines are experiencing erosive processes and retreating, placing the communities and ecosystems who rely upon estuarine beaches in a situation of vulnerability. Seeking to add to a growing body of literature regarding the morphodynamic behaviour of estuarine beaches, this thesis researched the morphological history and processes at St Leonards, on the Bellarine Peninsula in Port Phillip Bay (VIC). Attention was given to the historical evolution of the coastline between 1950-2019, and the spatial patterns of this change. More specifically, focus was paid to the morphological impact of a nearshore rocky outcrop situated centrally along the coast. Historical aerial photos, sediment, and beach topography were each examined using a range of field and/or desktop processes. Through these methods, the coastline was observed to be undergoing an overall process of retreat. However, the morphodynamic behaviour of the coastline was non-homogenous and did not occur consistently across a multitude of spatial and temporal scales. The rocky outcrop was also found to influence morphological processes, appearing to protect the coastline from erosion, and promote the accretion of sediment in the direction of longshore drift.
How does the mega-project of Hong Kong-Zhuhai and Macau Bridge impact the local people in Hong Kong?
The impacts of transport infrastructure have been well-studied but the impacts of cross-border transport infrastructure (CBTI) are less studied. This research aims to study how a (CBTI) which is the Hong Kong Zhuhai and Macau Bridge (HZMB) impacts on locals of different socioeconomic status and in different residential locations. To achieve this aim, this research investigated into what the impacts are and how do these impacts distribute among different groups of people. To get insight into that, this research interviewed locals in Hong Kong to collect data. The data was undergone thematic analyse to determine the HZMB’s impacts and distributional effects. This research found that the HZMB has very few benefits to the locals. The benefits are on travelling and economic aspects. However, the HZMB has major social and cultural impacts. Overall this thesis concluded that the social and cultural impacts of the HZMB has outweighed its economic benefits. This research produced results that contribute to the discipline of impact assessment on CBTI on individuals’ level. Whereas, on practical level, the results of this research could inform officials the directions for policymaking processes to enhance the benefits and mitigate the adverse effects of the HZMB.
Understanding the response of Tasmanian rainforest to climate change in the absence of human influence
The predicted increase of climate-driven wildfires poses a threat to the endemic rainforest species of Tasmania. In order to sustainably conserve and manage these threatened ecosystems in the future, it is crucial to understand the natural response of western Tasmanian vegetation to rapid climate change. While previous research at the Lake Selina site in the region has produced a paleoenvironmental reconstruction of the environmental response to climate shifts during a period in which historical indigenous land management practices were in effect, there is a knowledge gap regarding the response of vegetation to rapid climatic warming in the absence of these practices, which describes the situation in western Tasmania today. As such, this thesis seeks to understand the post-glacial response of vegetation to warming Holocene climates in the absence of anthropogenic fire regimes. To do so, a multi-proxy analysis of lake sediments from Darwin Crater in western Tasmania is conducted in order to facilitate comprehensive palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of a post-glacial environment. After establishing the suitability of conducting a comparison between the selected sites, this research goes on to determine the differences in the response of Tasmanian vegetation in the presence or absence of fire-based land management. The findings from this research identified a clear relationship between anthropogenic fire regimes and the response of western Tasmanian vegetation and can thus be used to project the future responses of vegetation in the region in the absence of indigenous land management practices.
The oil palm and conservation 'double bind'? Livelihood aspirations and forest desires in East Kalimantan, Indonesia
Across Southeast Asian frontiers, forest dependent peoples have been negotiating a relatively rapid agrarian transition towards increasingly market-oriented livelihoods. In changing frontiers, part of this transition has involved rural households seeking lucrative livelihood opportunities in order to fulfil changing social and material aspirations in the face of competing governance and extractive pressures. In East Kalimantan, Indonesia, rural Dayak households have engaged in a similar transition involving a shift towards livelihoods based in expanding oil palm plantations and other off-farm opportunities. Concurrently, however, civil society organisations (CSOs) attempt to counter this transition by encouraging Dayak smallholders to retain customary, forest-based activities in the hope of conserving biodiversity in the context of increasing deforestation from oil palm plantations. Focusing on the village of Lesan Dayak, this study examines how Dayak households negotiate these intersecting pressures, or ‘double bind’, as they define their desired futures. This study finds that rather than necessarily choosing one pathway over another, Lesan Dayak households aspire to integrate both oil palm and forest livelihood options to enhance familial well-being. As such, households are paving their own way, rejecting the two ‘absolute’ livelihood options that oil palm companies and CSOs have presented and represented, as they aspire for greater well-being by maintaining forests and taking advantage of lucrative smallholder oil palm opportunities.
Analysing climate-forced urbanisation in Mongolia
By 2030, two thirds of humanity is likely to live in urban areas. In many nations such as Mongolia, rapid urbanisation can be associated with development challenges where many people live with limited access to adequate urban infrastructure and services. There are many drivers of urbanisation in Mongolia. One of these drivers is thought to be a cold-climate disaster (dzud), that causes mass livestock fatality and consequent rural-urban migration, when nomadic herders are thought to seek alternative opportunities in urban centres such as the overcrowded capital city, Ulaanbaatar. As a result the city’s urban footprint is thought to spatially expand. The dynamics of this coupled human-physical system are not well understood. This project used mixed-methods, conducting qualitative and quantitative analyses of urban expansion in Ulaanbaatar. It used supervised classification on a 30-year time series of satellite images to measure the rate of change in urban areas from 1989-2019. To gather an understanding of the context of this phenomenon the spatial findings were compared with the opinions expressed in 26 semi-structured interviews with urban management experts in Mongolia to analyse the potential relationship between dzud and the rate of urban expansion. The findings may carry implications for the management of urbanisation in Mongolia, while enhancing our understanding of human-environment relations more broadly.
The drivers of hourly-scale surface changes on shore platforms
Subaerial weathering is a key process in the formation of shore platforms, with downwearing dominating the semi-horizontal intertidal rock surfaces. Over decadal to millennial scales this downwearing lowers platforms to mean low water spring tide elevations. On daily to hourly timescales, however, swelling at micro-scale (<mm) is also commonly observed. This topographic change is likely a precursor to granular disintegration of the rock surface by generating stress. Endolithic lichens on shore platforms have been hypothesised as a driver of this short-term change, but the influences of environmental factors (e.g. air temperature and humidity) are poorly understood. In this study, surface change was monitored over 2-hourly intervals for 3.5 days on a supratidal sandstone at Marengo, Victoria, Australia to quantify the precise short-term dynamics of shore platforms. These field measurements were complemented by controlled laboratory experiments on the same lithology to precisely quantify the role of biofilms and environmental conditions in driving hourly-scale surface change. At Marengo, rock surface behaviour was observed at different temporal scales. The study surface was dynamic at the two-hourly scale with falling and rising of -222 to 357 microns being the most frequent change trends. There was no net elevational change on the rock surface over a day, however net contraction was observed at the multi-day scale. Short-term surface micro-topography change over 24-hours was found to be divided into three distinct periods: falling (06:00-12:00), rising (12:00-20:00) and stable (20:00-06:00). Spatial heterogeneity, at the centimetre scale, was also demonstrated across a rock surface with contraction and expansion occurring concurrently. Micro-topography and related variations in aspect appeared to be critical in determining this variation. Endolithic lichens are suggested as the main mechanism of surface change on supratidal sandstone at Marengo, as evidenced by a higher magnitude and more alternations of expansion and contraction on the colonized versus bare rock surface. By influencing water content of lichen hyphae, rock surface swelled with increasing humidity and shrunk with decreasing humidity. An inverse pattern was apparent in response to thermal variations as the colonized biofilms were desiccated. The bioerosive role of endolithic lichens is therefore found to be very important for erosion of supratidal bedrock on shore platforms.
Class and disaster risk: a Kensington case study
There remains a lack of serious theoretical treatment in the residential fire literature for the socioeconomic inequalities in fire risk, vulnerability and preparedness. Implementation of previous work in this field continues to ignore the findings of researchers working on other types of disaster - that constructive engagement with the community is crucial to the success of safety interventions. By taking inspiration from the use of Marxist class analysis in health inequality research, we take a tentative first step into the application of class theory to the question of unequal fire preparedness. We investigate the relationship between socioeconomic status and preparedness in the suburb of Kensington, Melbourne, making use of a quantitative survey instrument followed by semi-structured interviews with a sample subset. The conclusions verify the presence of inequality in preparedness in Kensington, and enable us to confirm that middle-class, homeowning residents possess significant advantages over working class residents in terms of preparedness and access to support networks. They also suggest that elevated class position confers unconscious safety benefits. Possibilities and limitations for community education efforts moving forward are outlined.
The space-times of return migration: migrant worker men and staying in the home village in China
Despite the ubiquity of rural-urban migration in contemporary China, the mobile dynamics of the enormous, and growing, population of migrant workers remain little understood. Although acknowledging that movements are incredibly diverse, existing research on migration in China is narrowly quantitative, aiming to take stock of broader trends, but with a limited focus on how migrants are experiencing and navigating their complex mobilities. As an entry point to these mobile lifeworlds, this thesis examines the return migrations of working men in a village in Shanxi province, with a focus on the role of household and home in contemporary configurations of translocal mobility. Drawing predominantly on 25 semi-structured interviews with return migrant men, I deploy a relational epistemology of time and im/mobility to apprehend the gendered processes shaping returns to and stays in the home village. Following the 'mobilities' critique, this thesis finds that, contrary to the paradigm focus in migration studies on the production of movement, the distinct processes shaping stasis are equally critical to the construction of a return migration, a perspective that is largely obscured by existing conceptualisations of migration. Masculine experiences of the village space are set within the increasing embeddedness of mobility in China, as practices associated with the persistently uneven distribution of economic opportunity become normalized in the rural household. This research demonstrates that continued stays in village are shaped at the conjuncture of social networks, household needs and possibilities of livelihood, manifesting as particular and contingent expressions of translocal circularity. However, despite the pervasiveness of mobility, transitions from place-to-place are not frictionless, marked instead by differentiated experiences of waiting and diverse orientations to the past, present and future. I conclude with a broader discussion of masculine return migration within contemporary practices of rural mobility in China, explicating the notion of an 'asymmetry of place' to reflect the continuing significance of the village home in migrant lifeworlds.
Fire politics on the frontier: a political ecology of swidden fire in Palawan's green economy
The role of fire in swidden agriculture is often overlooked in literature regarding rural livelihoods and agrarian change in Southeast Asia, despite being an integral component of swidden practice. This study aims to fill this gap by describing the varied economic and socio-cultural functions and values of swidden fire and its politically contested nature in forest governance in Palawan Island, the Philippines. Taking a political ecology approach, this study draws on a 'fire politics' framework with insights and methods informed by ethnoecology. In order to examine indigenous Pala'wan uses and perceptions of swidden fire, and the representation and politically contested nature of swidden fire in environmental governance, 23 key-informant interviews with Pala'wan farmers, non-government organisations and government representatives were conducted over three weeks in June 2017. The study found that swidden fire is intimately connected to swidden livelihoods, primarily by providing the most efficient and effective means to produce crops for subsistence. Farmers continue to burn, even as other swidden practices are adjusted in response to landscape change, influenced by green governance that spatially restricts land and pressures farmers to sedenterise agriculture. Other contextual features such as a history of criminalisation of swidden, disjunctures between top-level policies shaped by constructions of the 'kaingin (slash-and-burn) problem', and local policy implementation and understandings of kaingin and are examined. More material characteristics of fire are also considered in examining the persistence and conflicts over swidden and swidden fire. Overall, this study contributes to a growing body of literature on the political ecology of fire, and studies of swidden livelihoods and agrarian change. Such understandings are crucial in engaging broader views on the 'destructive' nature of swidden fire, inherent within global and sub-national interpretations of the 'green economy'.
Widows in Jaffna: negotiating market access in a post-war community
This thesis examines the ways in which widows in post-war Jaffna negotiate market access in light of wartime changes to their subjectivities and social relations. Accordingly, this thesis aims to address the gap in Sri Lankan post-war and development literature regarding the influence of wartime changes to structural features on individuals' current capabilities. A qualitative approach to data collection was used, consisting of semi-structured interviews to collect the life narratives of 20 widows and 3 local residents. In order to better interrogate the impacts of wartime changes in widows' day-to-day lives, follow-up interviews were conducted with a smaller group of 8 participants. Building on the principles of Giddens' (1984) Theory of Structuration, the findings of this thesis demonstrated the relationship between Jaffna's history as a war-affected district, and its post-war structural features that regulate widows' access to markets. The findings illustrate the influence of wartime changes to widows' positions within their households and community on their current marketing practices, and sheds light on the internalization and reproduction of these changes by widows and local youth. This thesis concludes by showing how understandings of widows' post-war realities accessing markets are shaped by the legacy of wartime changes to their individual subjectivities and larger structural constraints.