Parks research agenda launched

February 7, 2012

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Parks Forum and Murdoch University are urging park management agencies and research organisations to work together to undertake high quality research into current and emerging parks issues.

The Parks Forum Research Agenda, which will be launched at Murdoch University in Perth on February 9, advocates the crucial role of research in the understanding of the social, economic, environmental and cultural values of parks.

The collaboration between the parks industry and other related sectors is seen as essential in understanding and promoting the values of parks, and provides the backbone of the Research Agenda.

Professor David Morrison, Murdoch University's new Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research, will be launching the agenda in front of an invited audience of researchers and park managers. He said: “The Research Agenda promotes partnership in research which generates opportunities for investigating new topics, and extending the scientific knowledge and its applications to park management across the world.”

David Clarke, Parks Forum CEO, said critical research was needed to understand the role parks play in keeping the environment and society healthy.

“It’s not just about environmental values,” he said. “Parks play an important role in physical and mental health and have important cultural and social values. As our cities grow we need to be careful to ensure parks play a role in providing for the health of the people in those cities.

“This document has been written to ensure that universities and other institutions throughout Australia and New Zealand work together to focus their energies in gathering the information we need to understand how to keep our parks – and our communities – healthy,” he said.

Dr Ingrid Sieler, Parks Forum’s Program Manager who developed the Research Agenda, said the array of issues affecting parks demanded research through a variety of partnership models.

“Parks Forum will facilitate research partnerships between park management agencies, research institutions and related sectors such as health, tourism and education,” she said.

“Research is a necessary and valuable component of effective park management. Science supports an integrated and adaptive management approach to solving park management issues and sets an objective basis for making decisions and policy development.”

Parks Forum is the peak body for park management organisations, with members and partners across Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada and the USA. The organisation’s vision is for a strong and vibrant parks industry recognised and supported by the whole community.

Murdoch University is Parks Forum’s first lead research partner in an ARC Linkage-funded project which aims to improve our understanding of the place of parks in Australian society.

Murdoch University is currently collaborating with the Parks Forum, the WA Department of Environment and Conservation and Parks Victoria on a three-year research project funded by the Australian Research Council.

Dr Susan Moore, Associate Professor of Environmental Policy at Murdoch University, said the research was addressing the important question of what makes visitors loyal to parks.

“The Parks Forum has provided invaluable links to park agencies elsewhere in Australia and overseas so Murdoch has been able to capitalise on their experiences,” she said.

The Parks Forum Research Agenda will be launched on Thursday, February 9, at Club Murdoch, Murdoch University.

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