Tracey Potts

PhD Student

Team Leader Strategy & Partnerships, Central Tablelands Local Land Services

Tracey’s research aims to determine which social and ecological phenomena are enablers and which are barriers to the uptake of natural resource management extension efforts that aim to catalyse behaviour change (for the purposes of this thesis, NRM is defined as the management of land and water resources for agricultural production, taking into account the off-farm consequences). Significant investments are made in extension services in the NRM sector by multiple agencies and industry bodies which include workshops, training courses, incentive programs, demonstrations, field days etc. aimed at affecting practice change, and the uptake of those opportunities is limited. As an example, Central Tablelands Local Land Services has 14,000 ratepayers and attendance numbers at these events very seldom exceed 50.

Anecdotal evidence also suggests that the conversion rate of new knowledge obtained from engaging in NRM extension activities to a resultant sustained shift in practice, are low. This thesis will attempt to elucidate which social phenomena reinforce the highly resilient unsustainable practice traps in the Little River catchment (or Central Tablelands region), which ecological phenomena interact with those social phenomena to mutually reinforce the undesirable state and which factors limit transformative capacity. This thesis will also aim to improve our understanding of attitudes and beliefs about specific sustainable land use practices.

Improved understanding of the factors listed above may enable input into the design of NRM extension programs.

Tracey has extensive experience in natural resource management with twenty five years of working in conservation management, rural and social development, private land conservation and Landcare in South Africa, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Australia. Tracey’s passions lies in developing novel approaches to the challenges we experience in the space where people and the environment meet. She enjoys the opportunities, complexity and challenges associated with working in multi-stakeholder environments and is committed to effecting lasting impacts on resilient ecosystems and communities. Tracey holds a Master’s Degree from Rhodes University, South Africa and is currently working part-time towards a PhD.

As Team Leader Strategy and Partnerships at Central Tablelands Local land Services, Tracey’s role incorporates strategic planning and policy development, working closely with the Board, forecasting emerging issues and creating the necessary capacity and resources to effectively address problems and embrace opportunity. Tracey leads a team of six staff that deliver expert technical support to core service delivery teams across the organisation (GIS & Systems, MERI, Communications, Investments, Aboriginal Engagement and Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator).