Abstract: Planning is commonly associated with urban areas in developed countries, with accompanying detailed planning documents and processes. However, planning in its broadest sense can be useful in many contexts, and is a key part of landscape approaches in forest communities in developing countries. Presenting recently published research, Dr Ed Morgan will tell the story of how a planner ended up in the rainforests in the Congo (and elsewhere) and present ideas about what use planning could be there and how we might help people evaluate and improve it.

Although not always labelled planning, and rarely resulting in formal documented plans, communities in forest landscapes (and in many other landscapes) are making decisions about land use in response to change and to achieve future goals. Communities can face multiple, pressing issues, capacity and resources are often limited, and although NGOs or governments may support them, this often results in top-down planning unsuitable to the context. As a result, it is unclear whether this informal landscape planning is effective. This seminar discusses how we might evaluate this nascent planning, drawing on planning theory and the opportunities and challenges for planning in forest landscapes. The evaluation framework outlined is also likely to be useful for evaluating planning in other contexts, both formal and informal, especially at the community level, and could be of use for NGOs, community groups and even government planners.


Biography: Dr Edward Morgan is a Research Fellow at the Cities Research Institute and the Griffith Climate Change Response Program at Griffith University, Australia. His research focusses on landscape planning and governance to address environmental issues, including forest protection, sustainable development and natural resource management. He is currently undertaking interdisciplinary, participatory action research that is developing, implementing and evaluating landscape planning and governance for forest protection to support sustainable community development and climate change mitigation and adaptation in case studies in the Amazon, Melanesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


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