Not content with Ibiza, the endangered European Eel travels to the Bahamas to breed. The only problem is that it needs to survive the first 20 years of its life to embark on the sojourn...
Posts from the ‘policy and programs’ Category
“In a nutshell the army has to adhere to the Endangered Species Act… nothing can go extinct on their their watch.”
This guest-post from my mate Graham Fifield (of Flick and Fly Journal) undertaking an internship in Hawaii, gives Australia great insights into how much communities will invest in saving species when they are [nearly] all gone…
For 23 years ‘Operation Bounceback’ has been fighting feral animals in the Flinders Ranges. Imagine seeking an annual budget for the same project 23 times! That takes vision, commitment, determination, quality and the support of about 10 different Ministers.
At the 20 year celebration, it was highlighted ‘SA Government, staff, volunteers, landholders and local communities work together to reverse some of the impacts of the last 150 years’, and by the logos on the report cover, the Australian Government is probably also a partner-organisation.
It is a classic example of a trusted partnership for conservation.
Controlling foxes has been a priority since 1993 and Grasswrens, Pythons and the Yellow-footed Rock-Wallaby are already benefiting. The current fox-baiting effort covers 5,500 km2.
Twenty years of feral animal control has laid a platform for the reintroduction of long-lost species. After an amazing Ecological Society of Australia conference I was lucky enough to get up to the Flinders Ranges and briefly check-out the reintroduction projects for the Western Quoll and Brushtail Possum…
So, an Australian Environment and Communications Senate Standing Committee is examining the “history, effectiveness, performance and future of the National Landcare Program”…
There is a fair bit of material to draw upon about the history, effectiveness and performance of the Landcare program. There have been reviews previously, including by the Australian National Audit Office (it wasn’t pretty), other Senate Committees, the Departments themselves and the occasional think-piece from academia and stakeholders. Of course there will be the necessary attempts to understand the tangled nature of the Landcare movement, where the money has gone, and what has been achieved. This reflection is important, very important, but only really important as an enabler to help shape a positive future for the Australian landscape – its biodiversity and its people.
So what of the future? This is the bit where vision and leadership is required – and who better to help forge that vision than those elected to represent the States and Territories of our federated nation.
Before we lament cuts to individual programs in the Australian Government’s environment portfolio – let’s put it all into perspective…
According to the Commission of Audit (CoA) (for 2012/13) the Environment Department’s portfolio is approximately 11% of the size of the Department of Defence. To put this in perspective, I scaled the cool constellation infographics the CoA used to show the relative investments in these portfolios the Australian community is making.
The Environment portfolio is the constellation to the left, within a green dotted circle, so you don’t miss it…
“expenditure on programs to restore the landscape shouldn’t be accounted as an ‘expense’, these costs should be capitalised, recognising they are investments in the Australian landscape asset that will harvest returns for generations”
Australia is an ancient continent. After tens-of-thousands of years of indigenous use of the already-old land, we decided to ramp up our impacts…
In pursuit of agricultural development, for the expansion of the national economy, we cleared the land of its native ecosystems and processes and tried to impart a Euro-centric farming system. We used the full suite of policy levers available to effectively clear the land…
- We used “direct action” – paying people to ring-bark and clear trees.
- We used “incentives” – by providing landholders tax-deductions for clearing native vegetation (as late as the early 1980’s these were still available).
- We used “regulatory instruments” – when people took up leases over land they were required to ‘develop’ their blocks (clear more native vegetation).
We did a great job too…
Landcare is celebrating it’s twenty-fifth birthday this year. But what is Landcare today?
For a background on the development of Landcare, this publication is great, it highlights the organic development of the Landcare movement, especially the individuals and groups involved.
If you want to engage in Landcare, who do you talk to?
The Green Army could play a vital role re-engaging the Australian community in their landscape…
When the billion dollar biodiversity fund was announced earlier this decade it was, in parts, derided as another “missed opportunity”. Within a few short years about half of that billion dollars evaporated.
With the clarity of hindsight we now recognise the real missed opportunity – not the targeting of those investments per se – but rather failing to secure half a billion dollars for biodiversity management. When programs are not welcomed by key constituents, and then don’t have a particularly high public profile, it is much easier to make a decision to terminate a program.
Environmental programs come in different shapes and sizes, with different priorities. No single program will fix all of our environmental challenges in Australia. So what good could come of a modern-day Green Army?