Skip to Content

Social-ecological systems in our region

The 11 subregions in this plan represent different social-ecological systems (SESs) in the SA Murray-Darling Basin (SAMDB) region. These are dynamic systems where people and environmental ‘assets’ such as soil, water and biodiversity, interact and influence one-another. They are shaped by both social and environmental influences.

Social-ecological systems have the following features:ses-page-image

  • shared social, cultural, economic and political conditions (often expressed as a ‘sense of community’) with shared identity and concerns
  • shared range of environmental values (e.g. productive soils, aesthetics, access to water, biodiversity values)

The use of social-ecological systems instead of purely biophysical or administrative boundaries in the RAP recognises:

  • people manage resources, and people are part of the social-ecological system
  • understanding common motivations and social influences can improve NRM planning and build community capacity to adapt and flourish in changing times
  • recognising different environmental and social influences in NRM planning will help us better target NRM programs to NRM needs and community capacity to do NRM
  • people and landscape systems are dynamic and frequently changing. Resources that support the variety of different systems can shift between more desirable and less desirable states.

Social-ecological systems were identified, mapped (typically with ‘fuzzy’ boundaries) and described with the help of SAMDB NRM group members, Local Action Planning group staff, state government staff and other community representatives from local councils in the region at two workshops run for this purpose.

Profiles of each subregion were developed using local and technical expert input, and a desktop review of existing information (reports, plans etc). These describe the key features of each area under the themes of Landscapes, Livelihoods, and Lifestyles.