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Discuss about the System Thinking Is Critical In Developing Solutions To Sustainability Challenges.
System thinking is conceptualised as the holistic approach that mainly concentrates on the constituent part of the interrelated system. Deforestation is a human act of removing or clearing a larger area of ecosystem and forest lands for using it for non-forest purposes (Pavlacky Jr, Possingham and Goldizen 2015). The concept of deforestation has been into practice from decades and it has created the considerable impacts on misbalancing the ecosystem. The essay aims to identify the system thinking approach based on the specific wicked problem of deforestation in Australia. It is noticeable that system thinking is a critical component in terms of developing solutions to the considerable challenges faced in the sustainability context. The essay would thus discuss the characteristics of deforestation, which is the major issue considered in this study. The 6 steps Iceberg Model of system thinking would be discussed in this essay to identify the potential challenges faced in the sustainability parameter. Furthermore, the study would develop understanding regarding the 3 pillars of sustainability, such as ecosystem, society, and environment. The clear elaboration of these aspects would be presented in this study.
The impact of deforestation on the ecosystems and environment is mostly highlighted in the declines of soil fertility, loss of biodiversity, and climate change. According to Evans (2016), in Australia, almost 40% of the forests are lost and some of the remaining forests are even fragmented. It has been observed that the coastal region of Australia is mostly surrounded by the forests whereas the rest of the lands or continents are covered dry lands and deserts. The coastal regions in Australia are the most fertile areas since the colonial times. The colonial rulers used to clear those forests in the coastal regions for the agricultural purposes (Education.seattlepi.com 2018). It is noticeable that Australia is the forest-poor country due to which it is necessary to provide the extensive efforts to prevent the ecological effects of deforestation.
In describing the characteristics of deforestation, Mahmood, Pielke Sr and McAlpine (2016) described that the forest fragmentation or deforestation has the adverse effects on the biodiversity of the plants and animals. As a consequence, it has been observed that many birds have lost their lives in Queensland, Victoria, Mount Lofty Ranges, New South Wales, and Western Australia. The reptiles have also declined in the forest-fragmented regions. Another characteristic of deforestation is climate change. It has been observed that clearing the forests affects the local temperature and the patterns of the participations. It has the clear impacts on the high temperature level and decreases the rainfall rate. The natural water cycle is disrupted as the trees are cutting off. McNeill and Agnoletti (2014) recognised the soil salinity due to the continuous deforestation. Water can drain from the deforested land for affecting the down-slope areas ad downstream process and it creates the significant impact on the water quality and plant life. Soil fertility is another characteristic of deforestation in which the major losses are found in nitrogen, organic carbon, sulphur, and phosphorus. It is notable that removal of tree increases the decomposition rate of the topsoil erosion and soil nutrients. Moreover, it even decreases the biomass both above and below the ground. These characteristics of deforestation are much harmful for the environment.
The six step of system thinking provides the insightful ideas about the selected wicked problem. Haines (2016) explained that the system thinking steps are mainly applied to resolve the complex problems. Michael Goodman and Richard Karash introduced this six step iceberg model to provide the effective solution after identifying the complex problem. The first step is to tell the story, which indicates that, the problem at first needs to be understood. The complete understanding of the problem is possible through looking deeper into the matter instead of concentrating on the individual part. In order to understand more deeply about the problem, it is necessary to meet the stakeholders who have been experiencing the scenario. For example, the people from the coastal region of Australia have been experiencing the struggles due to the enormous deforestations. The information gathered from them about the consequences would provide the ideas about the issues faced dur to the deforestation. According to Watanabe et al. (2017) utilizing the common maps is one of the common tools for recognising the issue more specifically. These cross maps present the visual form of the elements, concept links, cross-links, proposition statements, and examples.
The second stage is Drawing Behaviour Over Time, which is a graphical representation of noticing the influences of the current situation. It provides the analysis of the situation that is analysed through the map created for recognising the underlying problem. The graphical representation presents the curve, which determines how effective the problem is for a particular segment. In fact, it measures the effectiveness of the solutions provided for the complex problems. The third stage is creating a focusing statement, which develops the clear vision about the problem solving process (Dui?, Urbaniec and Huisingh 2015). This problem solving process is defined in the form of statement, which indicate the target of the team and he reasons for the occurrence of these problems. For example, it is necessary to identify the reasons of deforestation. Many of the industrialists use the lands for developing factories due to which it is necessary to remove the trees. On the contrary, deforestations even take place for developing the agricultural process on that land. Understanding the root cause of the problem is the third step of the system thinking process.
The fourth stage is identification of the structure, which provides the clear vision of the proposed statement. In this stage, the appropriate structure of the problem solving would be described that generally includes the behavioural patterns (Dawodu, Akinwolemiwa and Cheshmehzangi 2017). The development of such behavioural patterns helps in digging deeper into the problem and structuring the in-depth analysis. This behavioural pattern forms the system archetypes to develop the in-depth analysis of the problem. The next stage is going deeper into the issues, which determines the deeper cause of the issues that would develop the solutions as per the scenario. For example, the deforestation causes the environmental harms. However, despite knowing the fact, people tend to cut off trees to build some industrial valuation or agricultural business. It apprehends the deeper understanding of the root cause, which can help in establishing the greater solutions for the better aspects. The final stage is planning an intervention, which requires the previous data collected as the causes of problems. The collected information for the problem indicates that the appropriate method of mitigating the issues. In this intervention process, the modifications of the current problem are ensured and it relates parts to connections. Valiela et al. (2018) suggested that this intervention attempts to reach the desired behaviour to resolve any complex problem. The cycle of this system thinking helps in understanding the root cause of the issues with deforestation. Accordingly, the intervention iis planned as per the expected solution.
In order to discuss the problem of deforestation, the development of three pillars of sustainability management tool is also much helpful. This management tool is quite powerful in terms of defining any sustainability issue. The three pillars consist of three major sustainable components, such as economic, society, and environmental. According to Ahmed and Glaser (2016), if any of the pillars of sustainability becomes weak, the whole system would turn out to be unsustainable. Many of the national and international problem-solving skills are based on the observation of these three pillars. For example, World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been focusing on economic growth by paying attention towards some social issues like justice and war reduction. Similarly, the major problem shown in this study is the impact of deforestation. It provides the clear knowledge about the major issues identified due to the emergence of continuous deforestation issues.
Reside et al. (2017) defined that social sustainability is the ability of managing the social system, such as family, country, or organisation to create the harmony and social well-being. For example, deforestation issues have been hampering the social well-being of Australian coastal region. The people living in these areas have been facing the issues like shortage of rain, natural calamity, and soil salinity. Going forward, these issues are hampering the lives and social system in a recognizable manner. Hence, this social sustainability is affected due to the emergence of deforestation practices. On the other hand, economic sustainability is conceptualized as the ability of supporting a defined proportion of economy. It is true that the agricultural industry contributes significantly to the economic structure of Australia. However, the deforestation issue is even bigger than the actual problem. The mismanagement of the social forestation can even affect the soil quality that would become a significant issue in agricultural process even. Finally, Sonter et al. (2017) commented that environmental sustainability concerns with the environmental support to increase the quality and extraction rate of the natural resources indefinitely. Deforestation affects the environment at the first place. Due to the deforestation, the environmental structure loses the balance and creates the significant harm to the natural environment.
Deforestation is a threat to the environment that determines the consumptions of the direct conservations. It affects the maintenance of ecosystem in a significant way. It is noticeable that one-third portion of Earth’s landmass is swathed in green forests. Such forests provide a range of economic, social and environmental benefits. It is noticeable that the forests protect the animals and plant species, regulate the climates, reduces the soil erosions, and sustains he fresh water supplies. In addition to this, forests provide clothing, food, shelter, traditional medicines, and subsistence agriculture to almost 1.6 billion people in Australia (Beckman et al. 2017). However, in spite of these benefits, it has been observed that the natural vegetations and forests are continued to be cleared at a staggering rate. Each year almost 177,000 square kilometers forests are removed (Eriksson 2015). It has been observed that the coastal region of Australia is mostly surrounded by the forests whereas the rest of the lands or continents are covered dry lands and deserts. The coastal regions in Australia are the most fertile areas since the colonial times. Therefore, it is assumed that by 2030, the deforestation rate would be tripled. The more innovation in the industrial business is the fuelling the act of deforestation. Considerably, the effects are shown in the economy, environment, and social aspects. It has been observed that clearing the forests affects the local temperature and the patterns of the participations. It has the clear impacts on the high temperature level and decreases the rainfall rate. WFF in Australia is advocating the Zero Net Deforestation and Forest Degradation (ZNDD) globally by 2020, which would protect the forest loss (Wwf.org.au 2018). However, it is even expected that the quality of the forests would also be improved with the help of this advocacy movement.
The essay explores the concept of deforestation in Australia that has the considerable impacts on social, economical, and environmental aspects. The study recognises the characteristics of deforestation. It is stated that the forest fragmentation or deforestation has the adverse effects on the biodiversity of the plants and animals. As a consequence, it has been observed that many birds have lost their lives. The removal of tree increases the decomposition rate of the topsoil erosion and soil nutrients. The deforestation causes the environmental harms. However, despite knowing the fact, people tend to cut off trees to build some industrial valuation or agricultural business. The use of the system thinking approach to resolve the issues has been discussed in this essay. The three pillars of sustainability, such as social, economic, and environment are also discussed in this study. It is noticeable that deforestation issues have been hampering the social well-being of Australian coastal region. The people living in these areas have been facing the issues like shortage of rain, natural calamity, and soil salinity. However, the advocacy against this deforestation process is expected to reduce the issues in few years from now.