This project will provide economic, commercial, social and cultural benefits by producing detailed knowledge of how past societies managed key resource assets such as water and forests and how much those practices and mindsets still shape present Australian responses to environmental challenges. This project will improve how we analyse resource management systems across different times and places by broadening our ideas about what management means and looks like for past societies. We need to understand this so that Australia can make decisions that are right for our own environmental contexts and needs. These decisions should be uncoupled from the legacy of the pre-modern European models and contexts which shaped the settlement of Australia, and which still influence, to some extent, our thinking about natural resource management. As such, this new knowledge will make a direct contribution to today's discussions about how we best manage limited resources in Australia.

Project aim

This project aims to analyse how early modern Europeans managed two key assets, water and forests. It expects to generate detailed knowledge of their practices and mindsets that still shape present responses to environmental challenges. It will use an innovative cultural history approach to identify and compare evidence drawn from legal, economic, scientific, literary and artistic sources. Expected outcomes include broadening how we think about managing resources. Significant benefits include improving how we can analyse different management systems across different times and places, and high-quality early career training.


  • Australian Research Council Discovery Project (DP210100104), $202,187



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