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Constructing sustainable rural landscapes: Oil Mallees and the Western Australian wheatbelt

Bell, SJ; (2005) Constructing sustainable rural landscapes: Oil Mallees and the Western Australian wheatbelt. Geographical Research , 43 (2) pp. 194-208. 10.1111/j.1745-5871.2005.00313.x.

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Abstract

This paper considers the landscapes of the Western Australian wheatbelt and the possibilities for sustainability signified by the Oil Mallee Project. The Oil Mallee Project aims to develop commercially viable tree crops for the low rainfall wheatbelt region as a means of profitably managing dryland salinity. Interviews with farmers and other stakeholders in the Oil Mallee Project and agriculture are analysed to reveal important elements of landscape construction in the wheatbelt and stages in the emergence of the Project. These elements include historical land clearing, international chemical and machinery companies and the technologies they supply, land of marginal economic productivity, global food markets and alley farming systems. The paper uses material semiotics and actor-network theory in describing the networks of relationships that shape wheatbelt landscapes. Breakdowns in the dominant networks of industrial agriculture provide spaces for the Oil Mallee Project to build relationships that reconnect industrial systems to the specific ecology of the wheatbelt landscape. However, the networks of industrial agriculture remain powerful and the Project has worked strategically to become integrated with existing agricultural systems, rather than aiming to directly resist or entirely displace dominant patterns of production in the wheatbelt.

Type: Article
Title: Constructing sustainable rural landscapes: Oil Mallees and the Western Australian wheatbelt
DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-5871.2005.00313.x
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-5871.2005.00313.x
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © Institute of Australian Geographers 2005.
Keywords: amaterial semiotics; dryland salinity; actor-network theory; agri-forestry; agri-food networks; sustainability; agriculture
UCL classification: UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10864
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