Scholarly article on topic 'Love of the land: Social-ecological connectivity of rural landholders'

Love of the land: Social-ecological connectivity of rural landholders Academic research paper on "Social and economic geography"

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Journal of Rural Studies
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{Stewardship / "Place attachment" / "Sense of community" / "Lifestyle landholders" / Farmers / Resilience}

Abstract of research paper on Social and economic geography, author of scientific article — Claudia Baldwin, Tanzi Smith, Chris Jacobson

Abstract Understanding how landholders relate to the land and water they manage is crucial to sustainable natural resource management policy and practice. This study focuses on the relationship that rural landholders, both producers and rural lifestylers, have with their land and waterways, to provide insight into a social-ecological dynamic that contributes to social resilience. Mixed qualitative methods of semi-structured interviews and photovoice are used to examine stewardship; place attachment and constituent components of affective, functional and cognitive connection; as well as sense of community, through a case study in the Mary River valley in South-east Queensland Australia. Powerful visual images from participant-derived photos illustrate rural landholders' views of the interwined connections of landscapes and communities and their ‘love of the land’. The study thus expands the breadth of methods used in investigating place attachment. It contributes to the theoretical understanding of how the integrated nature of stewardship, place and community build and maintain social resilience. Understanding landholder relationships and motivations as part of a social-ecological system can enable better targeting of land management support.

Academic research paper on topic "Love of the land: Social-ecological connectivity of rural landholders"

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Journal of Rural Studies

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Love of the land: Social-ecological connectivity of rural landholders

Claudia Baldwin*, Tanzi Smith, Chris Jacobson

Sustainability Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC, Qld, 4558, Australia



Article history: Received 13 February 2016 Received in revised form 3 January 2017 Accepted 22 January 2017

Keywords: Stewardship Place attachment Sense of community Lifestyle landholders Farmers Resilience


Understanding how landholders relate to the land and water they manage is crucial to sustainable natural resource management policy and practice. This study focuses on the relationship that rural landholders, both producers and rural lifestylers, have with their land and waterways, to provide insight into a social-ecological dynamic that contributes to social resilience. Mixed qualitative methods of semi-structured interviews and photovoice are used to examine stewardship; place attachment and constituent components of affective, functional and cognitive connection; as well as sense of community, through a case study in the Mary River valley in South-east Queensland Australia. Powerful visual images from participant-derived photos illustrate rural landholders' views of the interwined connections of landscapes and communities and their 'love of the land'. The study thus expands the breadth of methods used in investigating place attachment. It contributes to the theoretical understanding of how the integrated nature of stewardship, place and community build and maintain social resilience. Understanding landholder relationships and motivations as part of a social-ecological system can enable better targeting of land management support.

© 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND

license (

1. Introduction

Understanding the interaction between humans and their choices about how to manage the land and ecological systems is essential for sustainable land and water development (Rammel et al., 2007; Fulton et al., 2011). Social-ecological systems are dynamic and continuously changing (Berkes and Folke, 1998; Scheffer et al., 2009) through interactions between actors, institutions, and resources shaped by a given social-ecological setting (Holling and Gunderson, 2002). This requires recognition of the coupled nature of social and ecological systems, which is inextricably linked and critical for sustainability (Liu et al., 2007). The ability of such systems to co-evolve whilst maintaining core functions is referred to as socio-ecological resilience (Davidson et al., 2016; Holling and Gunderson, 2002). Yet only recently has people-place connection been highlighted as one of the key attributes of resilience in social systems (Ross and Berkes, 2014; McManus et al., 2012). Herman (2015, p. 103, following Maclean et al., 2014) defines social resilience as 'the way in which individuals, communities and society adapt, transform and potentially become stronger when faced with environmental, social, economic or political challenges'. From a

* Corresponding author. E-mail address: (C. Baldwin).

practical perspective, this involves understanding the ways in which individuals and groups act as stewards of the environment to foster these relationships (Pilgrim and Pretty, 2010). We investigate this with reference to an Australian farming community.

Traditional family farms and their farmers are part of a community, often quite small in population, where they play an important role in supporting local businesses and contributing to community well-being1 (McManus et al., 2012; Hildenbrand and Hennon, 2005). Their identity is derived from being a farmer: having an intimate understanding of the land, their animals and machinery and having such good business acumen, proficient land management, and risk management strategies that they can sustain a viable farm and provide 'food for the nation' (Kuehne, 2012; Baldwin, 2011; Halpin and Guilfoyle, 2005). Others refer to farmers' motivation for caring for their land: it makes business sense to take responsibility for the state of the environment (water, soil, pollinators, etc.) on which they depend (Herman, 2015), and to demonstrate that they manage their operations consistently with

1 In Australia, people in farming families are more than twice as likely as those in

other families to do voluntary work for an organisation or group (39% compared with 19%) (ABS, 2011). The rate of volunteering is also higher among those who live in smaller communities - 27% among those who live in areas of less than 1000 people, compared with 17% of those who live in cities larger than one million people (ABS, 2011).

0743-0167/© 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

the broader aspirations of society (Baldwin, 2011). Likewise, rural landholders who do not make their living from the land, often referred to as 'lifestylers' or amenity residents, also form a significant relationship with their land, with strong attachments forming irrespective of length of time in the location (Smailes, 2002). Just as farmers have diverse motivations and practices, so do lifestyle residents. Gill et al. (2010) suggest that promoting stewardship needs to take into account the diversity of values and practices that are 'shaping ecologies at the landscape and property scales' (Gill et al., 2010, p. 332). Thus a range of rural landholder types can demonstrate their desire to care for the land in different ways.

The concept of stewardship captures the role of the land manager in providing for broader public benefit and future generations, of creating a legacy to the broader community, land and water, as well as to one's own family, while still acknowledging private or self-interest benefits. To support community based Natural Resource Management (NRM) in general, it is thus important to understand what might motivate rural landholders in the future to engage in stewardship. Whilst Landcare, catchment, and NRM groups2 have fostered social-ecological resilience in rural areas through both individual and group-based approaches to land restoration and biodiversity on both private and public land, gradual reforms (primarily in governance and funding) have reduced their capacity to do so (Curtis et al., 2014; Robins and Kanowski, 2011). Delivering ecological benefits in rural landscapes requires a better understanding about the values and behaviour that bond communities and cultures, people and places with environment, in order to enhance the system resilience (Ross and Berkes, 2014, p. 17).

This article focuses on rural landholders' relationship with their land and waterways to provide insight into a social-ecological dynamic that is often neglected - the interwoven care and concern about place and community. We explore people-place relationships of rural landholders through a case study in the Mary River valley in South-east Queensland Australia, as expressed through visual and dialogical methods, comparing results of an emerging technique, photovoice, with interview outcomes. Our contribution is two-fold. Firstly, we add to the body of evidence that illustrates the complex connection of rural landholders to both place and community as a social-ecological system, advancing understanding about the dynamics of people-place relationships in terms of socio-ecological systems resilience. In times of shrinking budgets for land management, understanding landholder motivations will enable targeting management support more appropriately. Secondly, we illustrate the utility of the technique, photovoice, in revealing rural landholders' views of the affective or emotive connections of landscapes and communities through powerful visual images. This therefore contributes to the existing toolbox for assessing and understanding resilience dynamics, particularly the people and their relationship with their social and physical environment.

2. Literature review

As an inherent characteristic of socio-ecological systems, high resilience means tipping points that result in less desirable (e.g. less productive) states are less likely. In their seminal work, Gunderson and Holling (2002) identify that resilience is associated with high

2 NRM groups and catchment management groups are spatially delineated around a river basin and rely on both paid workers and volunteers for stewardship activities. Members of over 4000 locally-based community Landcare groups in Australia volunteer to care for the natural resources in partnership with other organizations.

levels of biodiversity and socio-ecological inter-connectedness, and more flexible and adaptive land management practices. Thus, understanding how these connections are formed, maintained and regenerated in rural communities is critical to supporting socio-ecological systems resilience. We draw on two areas of environmental psychology research - 'connection to place' and 'sense of community' to form a better understanding of connection, grounded in a practical context.

2.1. Connection to place

To further understand the relationship of rural landholders to land, we refer to the substantial research in environmental psychology, geography, and other literature about place attachment, or the emotional bond between person and place (Florek, 2011). Since Altman and Low's seminal work (1992), many authors (e.g. Hidalgo and Hernandez, 2001; Hernandez et al., 2007; Raymond et al., 2010; Lewicka, 2011; Scannell and Gifford, 2010) have identified a range of social and physical dimensions that provide insight to place attachment. However, the physical process of connection, which includes the mechanisms that enable place attachment to develop, has been largely neglected (Lewicka, 2011). Three components - affect, cognition, and behaviour, derived through various empirical studies (e.g. Jorgensen and Stedman, 2001; Scannell and Gifford, 2010; Lin and Lockwood, 2014) can usefully articulate and contribute to the gap in understanding the process that builds place attachment. This is important for building connection that helps to maintain socio-ecological resilience.

The first component, affective attachment is a socially constructed deep emotional tie to or investment in place, a part of one's personal identity. It can be based on genealogical linkage, family tradition, history of social interactions, and experiences with friends and family with a place evidenced by narratives and special memories. It might be 'home' or enhanced by ownership. Such people-place bonding is often described in sensory, aesthetic, spiritual, or emotive terms, expressed as happiness and love, pride and well-being (Scannell and Gifford, 2010). Affective attachment can also be expressed by negative emotions of sadness, longing and grief associated with displacement or place impact (Scannell and Gifford, 2010).

Functional3 attachment is grounded on behavioural interactions through practice of activities (such as farming, recreation, rebuilding and restoration), satisfying an important personal need, purpose or goal. It can be life sustaining, provide economic and lifestyle benefits through living, working, and raising children in a place. It too might be fostered by property ownership and be related to landscape characteristics such as good soil. It is expressed as the desire to remain close to a place, return to a place or relocate to a similar place (Scannell and Gifford, 2010).

Cognitive attachment is based on constructed meaning and intellectualised interpretations of a setting's physical attributes, such as perceived degree of naturalness or cultural history. It can include knowing and understanding details of the environment. It is incorporated into self-identity if the type of place matches personal values (Scannell and Gifford, 2010). It provides insight into why a place is valued or meaningful (Wynveen et al., 2012).

Connection or attachment is a multi-dimensional concept based on individual and/or collectively held meanings, a psychological process involving cognition and behaviour, linked with place characteristics (Scannell and Gifford, 2010), through a reciprocal relationship between their behaviour and experiences (Rollero and

3 Referred to as behavioural attachment by Jorgensen and Stedman (2001).

De Piccoli, 2010; Lewicka, 2011). Spending time in appreciation of nature strengthens the human-nature connection (Wells and Lekies, 2006; Vining et al., 2008). Willingness to engage in place-protective behaviour is maximised when attachment is high (Stedman, 2002) and identifying with a particular place has been found to stimulate environmental care (Chalwa, 1998; Mayer and Frantz, 2004; Gooch, 2005). Working towards preserving ecological character of a place, for example, through repeated interactions with a place, can contribute to 'emotional ties that provide an anchor for individuals to cultivate a sense of self, self-esteem and belonging' (Lai and Kreuter, 2012, p. 321). Moreover, intellectual attachment can also motivate people to invest considerable time and money in protecting places (Lin and Lockwood, 2014) - even from a distance. Thus, attachment fosters stewardship. Connection to place highlights the people-place relationships that are a driving force for sustainable practice.

These three dimensions of attachment are mediated by a range of factors. First, the contestable claim that the strength of the bond does not necessarily reflect the length of time resident in a place (Smailes, 2002; Cheshire et al., 2013). Lewicka (2011, p. 215) suggests that attachment develops faster for the physical rather than the social dimension of place attachment, as 'it takes longer to develop a network of stable social relationships than to develop affective bonds with beautiful nature'.

Second, people can possess more than one form of attachment (Lin and Lockwood, 2014), both localized and generalised attachment to place, within affective, functional or cognitive conceptions. Localised attachment refers to a specific spatially localised geographic setting derived from first-hand experience, emotions and behaviours. Home ownership is a predictor of attachment (Lewicka, 2011), with Herman (2015, p. 106) suggesting that ownership of a farm confers 'strong emotional ties between the family and the land' offering a connection between previous and future generations and enabling the capacity to shape the landscape. Manzo and Perkins (2006) suggest a stewardship connection in that resource management decisions and place-specific behaviour are affected by landowner relations with the environment tied to specific geographical locations. However identity can also form for types of settings that share certain characteristics of significance to an individual (such as calming, aesthetic) derived from broader natural or cultural/historical landscapes (referred to here as cognitive attachment). In their study of natural areas, Lin and Lockwood (2014, cf. Proshansky et al., 1983) concur suggesting that cognitive attachment was associated with such a generalised connection.

Third, individuals become attached to places that support them in achieving their goals (as found by Rogan et al., 2005). Positive goal attainment can influence affective attachment. Behaviour of repeated use and interaction with a place to attain goals influences functional bonds, and expectations of achievement are based in cognitive attachment (Scannell and Gifford, 2010).

Fourth, while loss is expressed in emotional terms as affective attachment mentioned above, we suggest that loss is complex and enhanced by other dimensions of functional and cognition attachment too. The emotional bond of place attachment provides insight into the distress and grief of those who are forced to relocate or are affected by disaster (Scannell and Gifford, 2010). Self-awareness of sense of place often only arises when connection to a place is threatened in some way, otherwise little conscious thought might be given to places on a daily basis (Kuehne, 2012; Proshansky et al., 1983 in Anton and Lawrence, 2014). In rural locations that are subjected to physical change, for example from urban encroachment (Lai and Kreuter, 2012), mining and other resource development, or natural disasters, place bonds can be stressed, with implications for maintaining attachment, attainment

of goals, and care of place (or stewardship). People may lose not only their physical contact with home and place, but their social contacts and rearrangement of routines (Lewicka, 2011). The attributes of the property to which landholders were originally attracted may change to such a degree that they clash with their deeply held values or self-identity and require active effort to maintain (Stedman, 2003). The implications are that additional resources may be needed to assist people to adjust to changes that are affecting their emotional or social ties (Lai and Kreuter, 2012) and self-identity (Rogan et al., 2005), such as revegetated sites being washed away by flooding, environmental deterioration, forced relocation, or even if, for example, a move has long term positive outcomes.

These three components of process place connection, affective, functional, and cognitive, as well as the four inter-related aspects of temporal, spatial, goal attainment and loss of connection have implications for understanding the strength and type of attachments of rural landholders. These are examined in our research.

2.2. Sense of community

Whereas place attachment refers to the emotional ties to a place, sense of community refers to the emotional connection, social bonds, and ties one has to their community (Kim and Kaplan, 2004; Mannarini et al., 2012). This is relevant to understanding connection in socio-ecological systems, because connection between individuals can reinforce connection to and caring for place, but also because connections between individuals serve to mediate the way we interact as collectives to manage our landscape and hence to manage for or build resilience (Westley, 1995).

Sense of community denotes a connection through shared lifestyle, interests or practices (Kim and Kaplan, 2004) or geographical location (McMillan and Chavis, 1986). The two concepts can reinforce each other (i.e. a sense of community can be tied to place) and both are relevant to this study. Reinforcing human relationships through social interaction can increase personal wellbeing, reinforce social bonds, and create a sense of ownership, which in turn increase attachment (Kim and Kaplan, 2004). While sense of community can enhance feelings of safety, it also can increase among populations feeling vulnerable (Fried, 2000).

This mutually reinforcing relationship between community and place has been described by a number of researchers. Communities that encourage environmental engagement and/or affective social interaction contribute to a sense of belonging to a place (Kim and Kaplan, 2004). It also works the other way around: when people identify with a spatial community, they are more likely to feel satisfied with their social relationships (Mannarini et al., 2012). Personal reward, influential engagement and member identification within some cultural or spatial boundary enables emotional safety, and consequently a sense of belonging (McMillan and Chavis, 1986). A sense of belonging is often expressed economically, through supporting local businesses (Smailes, 2002). Social bonding results from meaningful interactions with family, friends, neighbours and colleagues, bounded by a place (Hammitt et al., 2006). Sense of community involves group influence upon its members, often resulting in shared group goals and norms. Over time social cohesion, shared effort, reciprocity, sharing and memories become shared history (McMillan and Chavis, 1986; Gooch, 2005). Measham and Barnett (2008) found this motivation of sharing and influencing others common amongst environmental volunteers. With the increasing average age of family farmers and spread of rural subdivisions, amenity migration and hobby farms in rural areas, Smailes (2002) suggests groupings of small communities are a key to maintaining cohesion and group identity for a sustainable rural society. Sense of community is therefore critical to

identifying avenues for enhancing resilience in rural socio-ecological systems (Ross et al., 2010).

3. Research design and methods

3.1. Research context

The Mary River catchment is located in south east Queensland, Australia (see Fig. 1). Covering 942,646 ha, land used for agriculture (primarily grazing on sub-tropical pastures, but also sugar cane, horticulture and broad acre crops) covers 38% of the catchment, whereas state forests, national parks and other types of reserves cover 30% (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2010). Urban areas occupy 3% and the remainder incorporates all other land uses and water surface areas. The international biodiversity significance of the catchment is recognised through the designation of a Ramsar listed wetland in the estuary and the presence of over eighty nationally listed threatened plant and animal species. The river is the most southerly river to influence the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area through impacts on coastal water quality, particularly during floods. As a result of agricultural industry restructuring, a significant demographic is 'lifestyle' people with small acreage hobby-farms (De Rijke, 2009). So with the vast majority of the catchment being privately owned or leased, engagement of rural landholders and their attitudes and practices are critical to ensure sustainable land and water management, survival of threatened species, and water quality on the Great Barrier Reef.

As a case study it is important not just for its vulnerable ecosystems but for consistent efforts of the Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee (MRCCC)4 and other community-based NRM groups in engaging landholders in stewardship practices. Most recently, community and individual responses to a proposed dam being located mid-catchment demonstrated, on one hand, a strong sense of community through increased interaction of the diverse groups in its opposition (De Rijke, 2012). On the other hand, a large number of landholders5 many of whom reluctantly sold their properties to the dam proponent prior to the final application decision, felt a deep and complex loss (De Rijke, 2012), especially as the dam application was refused by the federal government in 2009.

32. Methods

This research involved a multi-method approach including semi-structured interviews and photovoice. In the first phase 20 landholders were interviewed to elicit meaning around stewardship, factors affecting management decisions and importance of community. The second phase involved the use of photovoice and an associated workshop with a self-selected group of nine of the original 20 interviewees. Ethical approval and consent for all aspects of this work (including sharing and publishing of photos) was granted. Qualitative methods were chosen as they offer a depth of information, insight and richness suitable to elicit meaning of place attachment and its relationship to stewardship and sense of community (Lewicka, 2011).

3.2.1. Interview method and participants

Semi-structured interviews explored landholder perspectives of interactions with their land (referred to as stewardship) with

4 A non-governmental community based environmental management group with extensive networks, operating in its current form since 1995.

5 494 were properties purchased as of November 2009 (Ministerial Media

Statement by Anna Bligh, Queensland Premier, 11 November 2009).

specific questions about history, land-use rationale, land management choices and constraints, and importance of place. Interviewees were identified and contacted with assistance of the MRCCC using a purposeful and snowball sampling approach (Patton, 2002), and ensured that both MRCCC members and non-members were included. Interviewees represented both primary production (dairy or beef) and lifestyle landholders with frontage on either the Mary River or a tributary and with varying roles in natural resource or conservation management.

3.2.2. Phototovoice method and participants

We used a technique, photovoice, to elicit deeply held meanings. Photovoice is among a suite of pictorial techniques that have been used to examine place attachment (Lewicka, 2011; Beckley et al., 2007). Photovoice involves asking participants to take photos around a topic over a period of time (e.g. a two week period), then sharing the photos in a group (similar to a focus group), to jointly develop the messages that they would like to share with policymakers or another audience (Carlson et al., 2006; Wang and Burris, 1997). Individual reflection occurs when participants choose the subject of their photos, when they describe the photo to the rest of the group, and then again when they work as part of the group to decide on the messages they want to convey. Group reflection occurs through discussion, thus contributing to social learning and enabling participants to better understand others' perspectives (Baldwin et al., 2012). Photovoice is an effective method for gaining insight into deeply held values and developing a consensus among participants (Baldwin, 2011; Baldwin and Chandler, 2010; Baldwin and Ross, 2012).

All interviewees were invited to take photos on their own and attend the photovoice workshop a couple of months after the interviews. Seven of ten RSVPs attended the workshop itself (including one couple who provided one set of photos); two more sent in photographs with captions but could not attend the workshop. The ratio of production and lifestyle6 landholders in the interview and photo voice workshop was similar (see Table 1). On average, producers had larger parcels of land and lived in the area and on their current property for significantly longer than the lifestyle landholders. In the results section, quotes of participants are coded as PL# for production landholder or LL# for lifestyle landholder, preceded by I- or W- to indicate whether the statement was made in the interview or workshop.

In the invitation to the photovoice workshop, a brief overview of the workshop process was provided together with a request for participants to take up to three photos about each of the following themes:

(1) photos representing examples of stewardship, on your property or in your neighbourhood.

(2) photos that give you a feeling of community.

(3) photos that represents how you feel connected to your place.

Existing photos that they felt represent these themes could also be used.

At the workshop each participant presented their photos in turn and provided captions for them. Once all photos were presented for the theme, a researcher facilitated a group discussion to develop an overarching story pertaining to the theme. In addition to the workshop discussion of the theme, participants completed feedback forms about the process and what they had learned and later reviewed the consolidated outcomes. Two additional events were

6 For the purpose of this study, lifestyle landholders are those who do not make their living from the land.

Table 1

Characteristics of photovoice workshop participants compared with all interviewees.

Photovoice workshop participants (n = 8 properties)

Interview participants (n = 20 properties)

Land use Gender ratio Property size

Average age

Average length of time on property

Average length of time in the area

Overt involvement in NRM leadership or activities

5 lifestyle

4 primary production (beef)

4 female

5 male

Lifestyle: all <350 acres, two <50 acres Production: one <100 acres, rest >1000 acres

Lifestyle: 61 years Production: 62.5 years Lifestyle: 11 years Primary producers: 27 years Lifestyle: 11 years Primary producers: 44 years 4 high levels of involvement 2 medium levels of involvement 2 low levels of involvement

9 lifestyle

11 primary production (beef and dairy)

9 females 11 male

Lifestyle: all <500 acres, and five <50 acres

Production: majority >500 acres, ranging from 80 acres to >2000

Lifestyle: 57 years Production: 62 years Lifestyle: 13 years Primary producers: 40 years Lifestyle: 17 years Primary producers: 51 years

10 high levels of involvement

5 medium levels of involvement 5 low levels of involvement

used to gauge independent responses to the storyline developed. 3.3. Data analysis

Two of the three authors undertook the interviews and analysed the interview transcripts independently using NVivo 10 by iterative thematic coding (Babbie, 1998), enabling coding verification. To provide for a clear comparison with the photovoice workshop, in this article we focus on those interviews of the participants who also attended the photovoice workshop and their comments which shed light on stewardship, connection to place, and feeling of community. All of the authors were involved in the photovoice workshop and two of the authors analysed the workshop transcripts using NVivo10 along with the photo data. Photos were interpreted in conjunction with the written caption and dialogue, thus 'voice' gave meaning to the photos (as per Beckley et al., 2007; Baldwin et al., 2012). The photovoice workshop audio discussion was compared with the stories developed around the three given themes during the workshop, which were captured on butcher's paper and in the post workshop summary.

4. Results and discussion: thematic comparison of interviews with photovoice workshop

By analysing the interviews for the same themes as 'voiced' in the workshop, we searched for consistency between interview and workshop and interconnection between the themes. A prominent theme was the integrated social-ecological relationships illustrated through an interconnection between stewardship, attachment to land, and to community. Particularly notable was the affective/ emotional nature of connection and disconnection.

4.1. Stewardship

As per Worrell and Appleby (2000), both producers and lifestyle landholders demonstrated their understanding of stewardship as involving balancing of interests (e.g. land for cattle and koalas) and illustrated their care and commitment to benefit future generations. In both interviews and the workshop, a consensus emerged that clearly positions stewardship within a socio-ecological system that involves both living with nature and being responsible for land management that provides public and private benefit for the future.

Insight into the complexity of responsible land management was revealed when participants spoke about goal attainment (Scannell and Gifford, 2010 discussed at greater length in 3.1.2). For

some, a goal is living integrated with nature; while for others, both producers and lifestylers, it involves balancing goals associated with both conservation and production. The concept of responsibility to improve the land and water emerged repeatedly in interviews with different descriptions such as "improve the pro-ductivity"(I-PL3), "improving the landscape" (I-LL3),"improved in an environmental sustainable sense" (I-LL5). Being a good land manager was a clear source of interviewee satisfaction- "To see your land ... and your environment's improving is very rewarding ... very satisfying" (I-PL1).

Restoration or conservation goals, reflecting Gill et al.'s (2010) typology of lifestyle-oriented landowners, were expressed in interviews as: "I love having a bit of creek ... I don't use it at all" (I-LL5), and create "somewhere an [native] animal can feel at peace, comfortable" (I-LL5). Likewise comments, "give back from what others have taken" (I-LL4) and "return it to how it was" (I-LL4) implied that use of the land or water is contrary to caring for it. In the workshop, Fig. 2, "we are part of nature" (W-LL4), captures integration with nature and nature's relationship with the next generation.

Some producers indicated in interviews that achieving a livelihood took precedence over maintaining a natural state: "the top priority has to be care of my animals [cattle]" (I-PL1), while others spoke of finding a balance in managing their properties: "Whether it be our cattle or ... wildlife ..., they've all got to have a bit of everything" (I-PL2). This integration was also expressed as "you can't have a degraded river or creek system and have the land in the best possible shape" (I-PL3). In the workshop, photos of pasture and cattle were framed as working with the dynamic interaction of cattle, grass and soil to achieve a sustainable outcome. One grazier explained: "If you are a farmer, it's your life, that's our income, so we have to look at producing an animal, an end product, that gives us the best money you can get, but... we have to maintain our land so it is viable in producing that animal. So it works both ways" (W-PL2). Photos also illustrated responsible stewardship by both producers and lifestyle landholders through strategic non-use by fencing for stock exclusion, supporting natural processes of regeneration to "enhance what is there" (W-LL2). This sometimes involves "using cattle as a tool to eat grass and weeds in the fenced off area" (W-LL2). Thus, in the workshop, for primary producers and the lifestyle agrarian landholders (using Gill et al.,'s 2010 term), stewardship means managing for multiple goals of production and environmental integrity and finding win-win situations (such as the cattle-grass-soil dynamic) that support both long term financial return as well as responsible use of nature. In the end, as illustrated

above, lifestyle participants in the workshop were observed to fall within Gill et al.'s (2010) three typologies of stewardship: lifestyle agrarian, regenerative, and conservationist.

The intergenerational intention of stewardship, a caring relationship of people and their environment, was demonstrated in both interviews and workshops, and by both production and lifestyle landholders. Improvements were closely linked with the desire to create a lasting legacy, "changing the future of the next generation" (W-LL1). Interviewees referred to passing on knowledge, long-term protective mechanisms such as conservation covenants, regeneration of habitat and protection of land from cattle. Stewardship as a long term future-oriented practice through Land for Wildlife7 was demonstrated in two workshop photos including the one shown in Fig. 3.

The concept of lasting care was reinforced by both a producer and lifestyler who described their roles as temporary guardians.

7 Land for Wildlife brings together landholders to share skills and knowledge with a focus on nature conservation.

I don't have a sense that I own it as such. But I've been given the privilege to influence it, and ... as much as anything — stop other people influencing it, without me giving them permission (I-LL4).

We are only here for a short period of time in the whole window of life and we have an obligation or a right to pass on and leave what we've had here for future generations in as good or better state than it is now (I-PL1).

While many participant statements revealed a localised attachment to their own property, another aspect of stewardship, accountability to society beyond the property boundary, reflecting attachment to a generalised location, was expressed in both interviews and the workshop. Before/after photos showed changes resulting from good management practices to illustrate caring for public land by groups and to motivate through encouraging others, sharing knowledge and leading by example. Relevant photo captions included "it can be done" (W-LL1) and "longest journey, single step ... every little bit helps" (W-LL5). Using one's property to

facilitate connection along terrestrial and riparian corridors was also a way that participants enacted stewardship with both public and private benefit: "connectivity is our whole raison d'etre" (W-

Fig. 2. "We are part of nature" (LL4).

4.2. Connection to place

Connection to place is about the relationship people have with both land and water, sometimes built over the long term through interacting with the place in different ways, other times developing quickly. Participants ascribed individual and collective meaning, the person dimension, to places they had consciously chosen. For interviewees, their place had some special significance, particular reasons why they chose it: "the reason we bought a property on the river was because as a teenager I used to love swimming in the river" (W-PL1) and "It was that quality of untamed nature that I was really looking for" (I-LL4). Others commented on the appeal of "the position in the landscape" (I-LL3) and "the space" (I-LL1). They also acknowledged the function and role of place characteristics noting that the ability to fulfill their goals can be constrained by the nature and location of the property itself. For example, primary production in marginal areas with challenging weather "aren't viable. It doesn't matter how good your stewardship is, you are not going to be able to make a living off that land" (W-LL3).

It is in Scannell and Gifford's (2010) process dimension, expressed through affective, functional and cognitive attachment, that we gained greatest clarity about formation of the people-place relationship. Participants in both interviews and workshops revealed multifaceted and deep relationships to place, described strongly in emotive terms, through interaction with and being in a place and learning about the setting.

4.2.1. Affective

The strength of affective connection was conspicuous to the researchers. Connection is created in many ways - by love at first sight, through familial links, history and a sense of responsibility and can be visceral and akin to religious experience (Scannell and Gifford, 2010; Smailes, 2002; Cheshire et al., 2013; Lewicka, 2011; Herman, 2015; Manzo and Perkins, 2006; Rogan et al., 2005).

Fig. 3. Stewardship through land for wildlife (W-LL1 and LL2).

Deep ties were evidenced through dialogue in interviews, as well as in the workshop through stories in vivid sensory, spiritual and emotive terms as well as captions on engaging photos.

Connection was described in interviews by both types of landholders as a sense of contentment, peace and in spiritual terms: "it is like walking into heaven ... I feel at home, I feel at peace" (I-PL2) "piece of heaven" (I-PL4), "piece of paradise"(I-PL2), "It's a fulfilment of peace ... a recharging thing ... to me it's as close to a religious experience as I get" (I-LL5). Many people indicated that there are certain places or experiences associated with their property where the connection is particularly strong -"there are certain parts of my bush that's like a recharging chamber. You can just feel that stress going and I absorb the feeling of the earth" (I-LL5).

Particular moments, experiences, and sensual elements resonated in the following statements:

One of the best drives is when you come in the front gate of a night time with high beam on ... and all the flooded gums light up because of their shiny grey bark ... it's just beautiful (I-LL1).

We can smell the difference when we come in our driveway (W-LL2).

It's the animals and birds, the wind through the she-oaks; it engages all the senses (W-PL1).

Fig. 4 illustrates not just the striking beauty of the "pot of gold at the end of the rainbow on my place" (W-PL1) but the importance of one's own place: "It was kind of special because both ends of the rainbow were on my place" (W-PL1).

A feeling of being integrated with the land was described by, "it's just a piece of me" (I-PL2). In this way, both a production and a lifestyle landholder suggested they thought they could understand Aboriginals' sense of place. They also spoke about creating a home and commitment: "I'm like an old gnarled gum tree. I put down a tap root and I don't like moving. I chose my place very carefully" (I-

LL5) and "it gives the family a home base" (I-PL1), a "retreat to come home to" (I-LL5) and "that's your commitment back to the land" (I-PL4). Likewise in the workshop, connection to place was demonstrated by the way participants identified with and felt part of the entire environment, described with words such as "having a relationship with nature" (W-LL4) and "working with nature" (W-PL2). One participant showed her son on his horse with his dog, referring to him as a "man of the land - it's what he has always wanted" (W-PL2).

The literature foreshadowed that affective attachment to place encompasses strong positive emotions, often expressed as love and happiness. However during the analysis, we were struck by the frequency and intensity of the expression of these emotions in both interviews and the workshop. Table 2 reveals emotional attachment to place revealed through the word 'love' included in phrases. Fig. 5 illustrates this passion for the land. In all cases, affective bonding was described as localized place attachment.

4.2.2. Functional

Interacting with the land through planting trees or improving pasture, creating a home for children, enjoying recreation in the river, all denoted functional attachment, illustrated with photos.

In the interviews, working to realise personal goals and exerting effort to create and improve the property emerged from both producers and lifestylers as ways that bonds were built. Two of the interviewees linked the connection to place to "what motivates you to get out of bed every morning" (I-PL1) and another said "... every landholder that gets a property and does improvements, ... that's the connection" (I-PL3). Devising and implementing a plan was an important motivator for one participant (I-LL3) who explained that connection was in part due to it being a "blank sheet" and a "feasible and doable" project which enabled them to put their professional expertise into "a nice working example" with clear results. This functional goal attainment linked with affective attachment was expressed as: "Just having been there, having walked there, having influenced what is there [is] satisfying, yeah it

Fig. 4. The "pot of gold at the end of the rainbow on my place" (W-PL1).

Table 2

Use of the word 'love' by participants.

Interviews Workshop

Producers "It's a labour of love"(I-PL1) "having a love of the land, it's in our blood, it doesn't just happen" (W-PL2)

"I'd love to see the whole river lined with trees for "it is our passion, we love our animals, we love the land" (W-PL2) shade" (I-PL1) "He loves the open space" (W-PL2)

"I feel at home, I feel at peace. I just love it" (I-PL2) "As a teenager I used to love swimming in the river" (W-PL1)

"I love my cattle" (I-PL1) "Protecting and loving the river and swimming in it — it's part of my place" (W-PL1)

"I love the birds, I love working with the birds in

the background" (I-PL1)

"I love the land, I love the smell of earth" (I-PL4) Lifestylers "I love the bush" (I-LL5) "We had a wonderful time watching the power of the river, the noise, the debris it brings with it and the

"I love the rain, I love the creeks" (I-LL2) destructive force of it. We love watching it." (W-LL3)

"We've got black wattles, we love them" (I-LL3)

Fig. 5. It's our passion, we love our animals, we love the land" (W-PL2).

makes you feel good, it makes you feel happy" (I-PL1). Connection was similarly reported by workshop participants through photos showing images of actions to maintain or improve the ecological character (Fig. 6) and agricultural worth of the landscape and waterways, with captions such as "Trees for koalas and trees for livestock" (W-PL2).

As with affective attachment, connection was localised.

4.2.3. Cognitive

Cognitive attachment was enhanced by learning and reflecting about the environment and the productive dynamic of landscapes. Place was seen as a venue for learning, from observing the behaviour of the river during floods, noticing wildlife and observing natural events, illustrated by a photo of two snakes fighting to impress a potential mate: "What a buzz to watch that performance. It was on our land. Look, learn and marvel at nature's gifts" (W-LL5). In the interview the same person said, "I'm just a student, all I do is keep my eyes open and if I see something, I try to learn about it... it's a University without the sandstone" (I-LL5). Others suggested connection is built on an intimate knowledge and "memory of the place" (I-PL1), understanding the landscape, and knowing the patterns and the dynamics. One participant observed that the

"greatest joy is seeing something and getting an understanding of why" (W-LL3) and spoke about new landowners arriving and "each year developing a layer of understanding" about the property, the seasons and the interaction with the broader landscape. One interviewee translated her intellectual understanding ("which ... I've been writing and thinking about for quite a few years in my working and studying") into good management practices - "a nice working example and you get the results" (I-LL3). Learning about land and waterways thus seems to be an important means by which one interprets the landscape and is an underpinning force behind cognitive attachment.

The river and waterways, as generalised locations, were also linked closely with connection to place in the interviews and workshop. Waterways were intellectualised and reflected on as a reminder of the power of nature and a source of wonder, not just as a functional resource or place of recreation. One attendee reflected on flooding which resulted in debris and riverbank erosion commenting on "living with the good and bad ... the mind boggling power of nature" (W-PL2) (Fig. 7). Another referred to "watching geomorphology in action" (W-LL5) together with her husband, remembering that they met while studying geomorphology.

Fig. 6. Producer actively protecting nests of endangered Mary River turtle (W-PL1).

Fig. 7. A raging torrent showing the power and changes of nature (W-LL1 and LL2).

4.2.4. Loss of connection to place

Connection is not necessarily forever - external and imposed events and personal situations may intervene to break or change the connection. Factors causing disconnection among our participants included the government dam proposal, ill health, aging, changing family needs, the death of a partner, and sale of a property under duress due to a marriage breakdown. Given the affective and functional connection to land described earlier, it is therefore not

surprising that the pain of separating from the land was often framed as deeply emotional and in terms of the inability to influence outcomes.

Of the 20 landholders interviewed seven had either previously, were currently or have since experienced some event that had deeply challenged, or put at risk their relationship to their property and their connection to place. Five of these interviewees participated in the photovoice workshop where they used photos to

illustrate the depth of the actual or potential emotional loss. One of the interviewees was no longer able to live on the property where she felt a strong connection due to the disruption of the proposed dam. Although she had lived most her life in her current residence, she said "This house is not us, the land and cattle are us" (I-PL2), revealing a dominating connection to the land. Another described a "strong bond that you probably don't realise until you are about to lose it" (I-PL1). All interviewees lacked certainty about the future of the property. Only two were convinced that their children would take over the property and in each case their children were still at school. One interviewee had achieved his aspiration to "improve the productivity of the properties and ... pass them on to our children" (I-PL3) and then saw the property which he and his wife had inherited and passed on be put on the market as part of a divorce settlement for one of their children.

The threat of loss of connection was raised by five of the nine workshop participants. One participant only reflected on the power of connection when faced with separation, and another explained that their attachment to their property made them feel vulnerable. In each of these cases, the intervening event was something outside of the person's control. Loss of attachment has a powerful impact. Some had reluctantly decided to sell their land due to the government proposal to build a dam that would have flooded their land. One described this loss as follows:

My home is out there to me. It broke my heart to sell that. So when and if we ever get it back ... you won't get me out of there again .... this is where I'm going to be. (I-PL2)

The inevitability of separation was foreseen by another workshop participant:

Along the creek here is regenerated; it's just satisfying to see it. That's why we put the VCA8 on there because when we ... move which we'll have to do unfortunately, people can't come in with a chain saw ... or the council will take them to court... selling it is going to be a big wrench but... there is a time (74 year old W-LL1).

These feelings and actions were not always proportional to length of time in a place. While the literature gives different perspectives on the relationship between the strength of connection to the length of time on the property, the temporal connection to place seemed to matter most when participants spoke about their loss of or threat to, connection to place. All those who spoke of forced loss were producers with long residency in the area. Even though generalised attachment to the area was apparent, for all participants, the localised attachment to their own place appeared to be strongest, possibly enhanced through ownership, functional iterative interaction (both work and enjoyment), and reflection on threat of loss.

4.3. Feeling of community

Sense of community refers to the emotional connection and ties one has to their community, fostered through social interaction. A sense of community can be built around a geographic area or areas of interest or both. Being part of a community can serve both individual and collective goals and should be of mutual benefit to members, involving reciprocity (Kim and Kaplan, 2004). A feeling of community was expressed in these multiple dimensions in both interviews and the workshop but

8 VCA is a voluntary conservation agreement, binding on the property title.

three aspects were of particular note: value systems and reciprocity; collective goals; and social learning. We deal with these in the following.

In terms of the first aspect, a tension between balancing nature and production as well as reciprocity as part of sense of community, was reflected in the value systems of participants in both interviews and workshops. There was no clear delineation that producers were not interested in nature, nor that lifestylers were purist environmentalists. Rather, as in Gill et al. (2010) study, life-stylers fell into the three stewardship typologies with some raising cattle (lifestyle agrarian), others focussing on regeneration, and yet others strong conservationists. While one interviewee identified an interest-based community - "people with particular value systems, rather than a geographical location" (I-LL4), others spoke about being neighbourly spatially and being able to rely on one another: "if they think you're in trouble they'll be here like a flash" (I-LL2) and "we've just always been there to help" (I-PL2). The tension between country and city values in the interviews was most apparent around discussion of reciprocity and the perception that some residents who have moved from the city have maintained 'city values': "the city mentality" which means "you're not allowed in my front gate and I won't talk to you and all those sort of things" (I-LL2) and with the exception of a some city people who "do a lot of good work", they are "just not the same community minded type people" (I-LL1) as the country people whose properties they had purchased. These different value systems were mediated in the workshop by a respectful desire to understand others' perspectives. We suggest that it also shows a shared sense of belonging to a place called the 'country' which is associated with a strong feeling of community.

The second aspect was that being involved in a community can also help realise both personal and collective goals and aspirations. Working together was seen as enjoyable. A photo of group weeding in the nearby Conondale National Park reflects sentiments of togetherness in nature. In another location, a participant said "There are hundreds of people I can think of when I walk through there. Their hands have been in the earth ... we all contributed and together we created a forest" (I-LL4). A sense of identity can also function to protect the community and environment against threats, as indicated by one interviewee who referred to preventing the dam proponents who were "trying to kick a community" (I-PL4). The role of the river in fostering feelings of community was demonstrated by massive collective action between 2006 and 2009 which stopped the proposed dam at Traveston Crossing on the river. In the workshop sense of community was illustrated by Fig. 8 which "was taken where the dam wall would have been" (W-PL1).

The third aspect of note in terms of sense of community, was social learning, simplistically described as learning that occurs through a social network (Reed et al., 2010). It emerged as a connection factor from both methods. It was referred to as 'sharing knowledge' and two way exchange of information in interviews, whereas in the workshop 'education' that was considered 'fun' was mentioned. Learning from both individual and collective social experiences facilitates creation of social norms towards stewardship. In the presentation and discussion of their photos, participants emphasized the importance of getting together in natural settings for fun, social learning, and working together on stewardship activities. Rivers and creeks featured in several photos as providing a place for environmental engagement. Fig. 8 illustrated "people of all ages ... having fun in the Mary River ... having fun in nature" (W-PL1). This person linked connection to the river with connection to the community: "to be able to paddle and explore and feel the water - that is a good way of connection to community" (W-PL1). Fig. 9 encompassed the notion that we are all connected to land and water, part of the same community and one participant

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Fig. 8. "Friends swimming in the river for the first time ... experiencing it" (W-PL1).

contrasted this tranquil image with raging torrent showing in Fig. 7 to illustrate that "whether it be the still and tranquil waters, or the raging torrent of the river, we are all part of this place and it's changing nature" (W-LL5). Knowledge sharing took the form of educating the younger generation - "I want to tell them everything because when I die hopefully they can have that knowledge" (I-LL5) (Fig. 10) as well as sharing knowledge and experience with neighbours, "to put something back into the community" and to "pioneer change" (W-LL1).

Sense of community was interpreted as being part of a diverse generalised landscape involving different land uses or communities of practice, in contrast to attachment to localised places.

5. Use of multiple methods: interviews and photovoice workshops

A key contribution of this article is in understanding ways to learn about people-place connection and how it could affect resilience. In our case, photovoice and the associated workshop allowed us to further investigate the themes of stewardship, attachment to place and community that were initially identified in interviews, enabling the possibility of confirming and/or elaborating on interview findings and providing a clearer narrative about connection and resilience.

5.1. Congruency between the methods

The corroborating quotes from the workshop and interviews indicate high congruency between the two methods. In some cases participants repeated the same phrases in interview and workshop, "University without the sandstone" (LL5). The workshop discussion helped interviewees to articulate their ideas more explicitly than they had in the interview. For example one interviewee mentioned the importance of education in the interview, but used a photo to expand, mentioning their annual donation of a prize to local

schools to teach about the land.

Both lifestylers and production landholders shared their photos within the group of participants, some of whom they had never met before. As a result, the facilitator encouraged them to share within their 'comfort zone' and supported participants to be confident to put forward their photos ensuring them that there was no right or wrong answer. The continuity with the researchers from interview to workshop also helped build rapport as the participants were familiar with the project and appeared comfortable with providing photos around the topic. In addition, as a result of having already completed interviews with each participant, the researchers had a good appreciation of a person's context when they made a comment in the workshop and could encourage them to expand on a topic. Moreover by the time of the workshop, the participants had already thought about the stewardship topic in advance through both the interview and through taking photos, more so than if the collection of photos was the first step. Each of these factors contributed to the photovoice workshop enabling a deeper exploration of individual perspectives on stewardship than either the interview or photovoice methods alone would have allowed by (i) increasing their comfort, (ii) building rapport, and (iii) giving time to reflect on key themes.

5.2. Formation of overarching themes

In contrast to an interview, emergence of perspectives in the workshop occurs as a result of the discussion amongst participants. This is facilitated deliberately as part of the synthesis process in which participants are asked to develop a story which brings together the shared photos on one theme. An example was the idea that stewardship involves a relationship with land primarily, but also with other people in the community. This concept was not directly expressed during all interviews, but in the photovoice workshop it was captured explicitly as a

consensus around a view that participants have an "ongoing relationship with people with the land providing food, shelter and water", and "we are part of nature".

Toward the end of the photovoice workshop the interlinking of stewardship, connection to place and feeling of community became apparent to the participants. The interconnection of these concepts was also not explicit from the interviews. A possible explanation of these contrasts is that the photovoice workshop includes more time for and is also structured to encourage reflection, reframing and redescribing compared to an interview. We suggest that this reflective capacity drew out aspects of cognitive attachment.

5.3. Giving 'voice' to the power of an image

The photos illustrated what participants cared about. People spoke of the emotional bond to land in both settings, with the photos demonstrating the power of the image, and possible lack of necessity to use spoken words, as compared to the interview. Certain images resonated with participants more than others and illustrated a story - photos of flood debris, beauty of the land and animals (whether native or domestic), the 'pot of gold', and regeneration. The images with their captions and stories not only clearly communicate sentiment to the researcher and other attendees, they make it possible to more easily extend that sentiment to a broader audience.

5.4. Engendering mutual understanding

Both producers and lifestylers were able to articulate their views, listen to others ways of expressing ideas, reflect on it, and better understand the views of the other. Through the dialogue it was clear that the occasional tensions between the two types of landholders were also matched by a desire to learn about one another's perspectives. Fostering mutual understanding has been a key outcome of previous photovoice exercises (Baldwin and Chandler, 2010; Baldwin et al., 2012).

5.5. Limitations

A possible negative aspect of using the two methods is the additional time and resources. On one hand, interviews of landholders at their property are very time-consuming. On the other hand, while running a workshop is an efficient method of collecting a range of views, it is unclear to what extent the workshop group setting mediated the type of people willing to participate and what people were prepared to share. By ensuring that both members and non-members of NRM groups, and farmers and lifestylers were recruited for interviews, we attempted to mitigate against a pro-NRM respondent bias. Whether this impacted on the results that illustrated attachment to community and place, is debatable.

6. Conclusion

This work makes two key contributions: (1) to the study of, and theory associated with, connection between people and place as part of socio-ecological systems resilience, and (2) to methods that enable this understanding to be derived. In relation to the first point, this study advances the theoretical development of connection in socio-ecological systems in three ways. First, it adds insight to Ross and Berkes' (2014) identified gap in understanding the values and behaviour that bond communities and cultures, people and places, with environment. It not only confirms previous studies by Scannell and Gifford (2010) and Lin and Lockwood (2014), it results in a better understanding about the process or mechanisms through which place attachment occurs. As identified, functional, cognitive and spiritual aspects of place attachment appear to be strongly interwoven within stewardship. The integrated nature of stewardship, place and community evidenced in this study reinforce the importance of place-based management approaches that consider the complex interactions between social and ecological systems (Walker et al., 2002). From a theoretical perspective, we suggest that maintaining or building social resilience in rural communities is dependent on respecting the integrated nature of stewardship, place and community.

Building socio-ecological resilience requires consideration of how these -people-place connections could best be fostered among diverse and changing landholders within a given location.

While relationship to the land is highly contextual (as per Herman, 2015), the second theoretical contribution of the research suggests a benefit in building on individual landholder's commitment to their own land through programs such as Land for Wildlife and Landcare, and searching for areas of common ground to join people together in collective action, whether regenerating a connected waterway or opposing a threat. This has implications for both policy for funding NRM programs and practical implementation of these programs. The way that such groups operate within place-based communities needs to be cognisant of how attachment is formed, and use the spiritual, functional and cognitive aspects as triggers for engagement rather than 'educating' communities per se. This reinforces Manzo and Perkins (2006) recommendations that plans and strategies, for example by NRM groups, which

incorporate or enhance elements central to meaning of place, are better received. Potential improvements in resilience can occur if interventions integrate both the individual and collective understanding.

The strength of affective attachment to land by rural landholders was poignantly revealed (and similar to Rogan et al., 2005), expressed as a love of the land and its constituent parts (including domestic animals and wildlife, the power and wonder of nature, spiritual and sensory experience), forged through investment in hard work and learning, reinforced by self-actualisation and achievement of personal goals. This provides the third theoretical contribution as well as policy insights. If external parties potentially interfere with or affect one's land, they can expect substantial opposition, as well as a deep possibly unforgiving hurt. It suggests that such deep attachment reflects a sense of responsibility to care for the place, a love and intimate understanding of the land and water, and the intertwining of one's identity with a place through personal investment in the land. It concurs with Lewicka (2011) who discussed relationship between strength of emotional bonds with a place and resistance to introduced changes, as well as Marques et al. (2015) who indicated a high degree of place identity may result in changes not being readily accepted. This deep attachment to place provides credibility to those who oppose a development that might negatively impact their land; it is not 'just' a reactionary NIMBY phenomenon, often portrayed with negative connotations and easily dismissed, but opposition based on a sense of responsibility to care for the place, a love and intimate understanding of the land and water, and the intertwining of one's identity with a place through investment in the land.

Our second key area of contribution is in relation to the complementary methods which enabled validation of results. They allowed rural landholders to express their meaning and interpretation of a social-ecological dynamic relationship with their land and waterways through words and photos. Our participants experienced a world where stewardship was motivated and reinforced by affective, functional and cognitive attachment to place, particularly localised attachment to their own property. Moreover they also spoke about sense of community in terms of collective action and reciprocity, expressed in reactive and proactive ways. On one hand the sense of community acted to protect the community and landscape from the threat of a dam proposal. On the other, it also translated into proactive stewardship action on connected waterways and public land. Both these methods revealed a more generalised attachment to the landscape, as per Lin and Lockwood (2014).

We acknowledge there are many fruitful areas of exploration not only within our own data set, but in other case studies as well. Future research could progress theory in this area by exploring whether place attachment supports group goals (a gap also identified by Scannell and Gifford, 2010), and the interrelationships between the role of leadership and social learning in building stewardship norms, sense of community and social capital. Likewise future studies could advance policy and practice by building on some interesting recent research on the complexity of NIMBY-ism (Devine-Wright, 2013; Burningham et al., 2015) as well as what influences pro-environmental or conservation behaviour (Bissing-Olson et al., 2016; Gosling and Williams, 2010; Michel-Guillous and Moser, 2006; Rogan et al., 2005) and how to empower and strengthen locus of control and resilience in rural communities in challenging times.


We sincerely thank the participants who generously gave of their time for interviews and the photovoice workshop, and the

MRCCC for facilitating connection with landholders and creating space for follow up feedback. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the University of the Sunshine Coast Research Futures Project funded by the Australian Government's Collaborative Research Network Program (2012) under which this paper was researched and authored.


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