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A planning process is the sum of many discussions, lots of time and a flood of information. The process started when the idea of a Cape York regional body started; many years ago. The recent process has been the result of a few years of engagement with the Cape York community, the work of the Cape York NRM Board in its various forms and work by Cape York NRM staff. Cape York NRM would like to thank everyone who has supported the project in all capacities. Cape York NRM particularly acknowledges the recent funding from the Australian Government's Stream 1 of the Regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) Planning for Climate Change Fund and the support from the Stream 2 Wet Tropics cluster.


Adaptation (specifically to climate change)

The adjustment, in natural or human systems, in response to actual or expected climatic changes or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.

Adaptive management

According to Foundations of Success (, ‘adaptive management’ is the integration of design, management, and monitoring to systematically test assumptions to adapt and learn.

Carbon abatement

The reduction in the amount, degree, or intensity of total greenhouse gas emissions, usually measured in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2-e).

Climate change

The shift in these natural climate conditions over decades. Climate change is caused by the Earth's atmosphere holding extra carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. As the sun heats the Earth, these gases heat up - changing the Earth's climate patterns. The largest source of these gases is pollution from people burning fuels for energy. Other sources include wildfire. While these greenhouse gases have been released into the atmosphere for millions of years through natural events, human-induced atmospheric pollution has resulted in the highest levels of these gases in the atmosphere over the last 800,000 years.

Climate variability

Climate is generally thought of as the average of the weather conditions of a particular place. In Cape York, there are two main seasons – the Wet and the Dry – though some Indigenous groups recognize many other seasons based on flowering seasons, rainfall and wind. Climate is measured by local weather gauges and the Bureau of Meteorology weather stations across Cape York. These gauges and stations give people an understanding of the average conditions at these sites and the variability across seasons and years. On Cape York, one of the influences on climate over seasons is the Monsoon, while an influence over years is the El Niño and La Niña cycles.

Collective learning

A dynamic and cumulative process that results in the production of knowledge. Such knowledge is established in the form of rules, routines, norms and strategies that guide future action. Learning emerges from interaction where individual knowledge is shared and further developed with others. Collective learning is therefore an evolutionary process of perfecting collective knowledge.

Planning by doing

In an attempt to build resilience, Cape York NRM is moving away from a traditional ‘plan, then do’ approach to a continually adaptive process that involves collective learning. While there are times where one could only do ‘planning’, the larger process is built on concurrently planning and doing - step by step, and cyclic. Activities are adapting while working on projects that inform future management decisions to reach the NRM plan targets.


The capacity of a system to absorb disturbance, undergo change and still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity, and feedbacks.
Social-cultural-ecological systems
Cape York NRM focuses on a systems approach, rather than a specified assets-based approach. A regional planning system consists of a set of linked activities, interactions and relationships among participants and objects. In recent years, economists, ecologists, sociologists and planners have shifted to a more systemic and multidisciplinary view of the regional planning system. All parts of the planning system affect other parts. Collectively, these activities influence the ecological, social, cultural and economic health of a region.

Vulnerability (specifically to climate change)

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, vulnerability is “the propensity or predisposition to be adversely affected. Vulnerability encompasses a variety of concepts including sensitivity or susceptibility to harm and lack of capacity to cope and adapt.”