“National Parks will always be fundamental to landscape conservation, but very few are created in Australia these days. Innovative Trust arrangements, bespoke for the local or regional needs, are becoming more common”.
Conservation costs money. From routine land management practices that provide safe places for community to restoration and reintroduction of missing species and to research and monitoring – it all requires financial support. The original model for conservation was, aligned with the definition of the term, to create a National Park and have it managed by a government agency.
The rate of formal State-managed National Park creation has slowed appreciably in the last decade, as other conservation instruments or approaches have been used to secure similar outcomes. The variety of common models for maintaining and improving high quality environmental assets, now includes:
What lessons can we learn from three key innovative programs in Australian landscape repair in the last decade?
The Whole of Paddock Rehabilitation (WOPR) approach, the Grassy Groundcover program, and the Mulligans Flat Woodlands Sanctuary bring new hope for the scale and quality of landscape restoration in Australia.
On the one hand, WOPR has halved the cost of broadscale landscape repair – rebuilding the landscape matrix can now happen twice as fast as a decade ago. At the micro-end of the scale we now have the capacity to dramatically enhance the quality of the restoration we undertake. Now Mulligans is building a vision for the community for what our woodlands could be like.
A vision, a step-change in the scale of what we can do, and a demonstration of the possible.
Taken together these are a potent mix of inspiration and application.
What are the common threads to the development of these projects? How has the innovation come about?
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?