The Science of Desert Living consolidates our understandings of desert drivers and their impacts to provide an integrated, inter-sectoral discipline and is at the forefront of understanding regions as systems. The Science of Desert Living project will help to develop a solid underlying theoretical basis for developing solutions to applied desert living problems more rapidly and confidently. Closely aligned projects are identifying and linking the key social and economic issues affecting the viability of desert regions and exploring the role that property rights play in the use of desert landscapes by a range of different groups and how the associated benefits are distributed.
Collaborations with the Tangentyere Council are helping to inform decision makers about regional mobility and its impacts, which are helping us improve our representations of the function of desert regions. We also have a greater understanding of future demographic changes to the desert through studies into regional demography which will inform future work.
We have let scoping studies on road stabilisation, procurement and public transport which will improve our systems understanding of desert regions, but will also enable the development of resources to inform decision making about regional futures by the end of the decade. These studies review current practise and will recommend how the desert as a region can be more responsive.
A series of theme project reports will also help us achieve our milestones and enhance our understanding of the desert system. Significant research work has gone into refining regional development strategies, using a systems approach, understanding what is different and important about the communities, economies and resources of desert Australia and identifying and linking key social and economic issues affecting the sustainability of desert regions. This work provides baseline regional data that will inform systems representations of the critical nature and function of outback regions by June 2008. Research projects examining the use of systems approaches to define regional tourism futures and mapping socio-regions of desert Australia are also being finalised.