Implementation of sustainable resource management : a process for environmental evaluation, Aorangi Awarua case study : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Resource and Environmental Planning at Massey University
"Implementing Sustainable Resource Management - A Process for Environmental Evaluation" is a review and discussion of the theoretical concepts associated with sustainability; and the development of these into practical guidelines for implementation. Regional councils have a legislative responsibility to carry out sustainable resource management. This implies a commitment to ecological sustainability; the management of resources within the life supporting capacity of the environment, and the recognition of all of the environmental effects (costs) associated with resource use. Implementation of sustainable resource management will require the development of a set of practical guidelines and tools. Such mechanisms necessarily range from the conceptual to the practical, and will include general principles relating to the concept of sustainability and legislative tools such as regional policy statements, regional plans and resource consents. A "Model for Sustainable Resource Management" has been developed which allows for the integration of the ecological, economic and social schools of thought. A programme for environmental and performance monitoring and the development of appropriate indicators is a prerequisite for sustainable resource management. Such a programme will enable and assist with the identification of environmental limits. The requirement for a process for the assessment of the effects of current and proposed resource use on the environment is also emphasised. Rather than develop all of these mechanisms in detail, this thesis focuses on the development of an "Environmental Evaluation Process" within the planning context, for the determination of the adverse environmental effects associated with resource consent applications in New Zealand. The natural environment has value independent of the instrumental or mechanistic (use) value attributed to it by human beings. These values can be categorised as non-use and intrinsic. Traditional analytical techniques such as Environmental Impact Assessment, Cost-Benefit Analysis and Planning Balance Sheet are useful in terms of identifying, organising and attributing dollar terms to tangible environmental costs and benefits. However, these methods do not go far enough. For a comprehensive analysis of any resource management issue, the true environmental costs of "development" must be incorporated into the decision making process. Contingent valuation method is the most appropriate method for non-market valuation of natural resources and environments. A process for environmental evaluation (which includes the Contingent Valuation Method) has been developed and applied to the Aorangi-Awarua Case Study. The Thesis concludes with some recommendations as to the implementation of sustainable resource management, with particular reference to the practicality of parts and all of the Process for Environmental Evaluation for use by regional councils.