Riparian management generally involves encouraging landowners to undertake fencing, weed control and/or revegetation works voluntarily. Waterway managers have traditionally favoured the ‘carrot’ over the ‘stick’ approach, assuming that this leads to better long-term outcomes through the creation of a culture of willing, rather than reluctant, landholders. Environment groups/others have challenged these tactics, noting that the slow pace of change requires a mandatory approach to be implemented in some cases.
This paper describes a range of voluntary, mandatory and mixed approaches to the fencing and long-term management of riparian land; illustrated by local and global case studies. We present a process model that outlines a generic description of each of the voluntary and mandatory pathways and how they can be used together to create on-ground change over time. The advantages, pitfalls and resourcing implications of each approach are highlighted.
We acknowledge that there is no single panacea for riparian restoration, with each pathway involving trade-offs and difficulties. We propose that a combined approach of voluntary (incentives and subsidies) and mandatory (penalties and regulations) can be used to achieve the best possible outcome.