Australia needs to look at its landscapes in new ways if it is to meet the 21st Century challenges of climate change and food, water and energy security.
Without a new vision for creating healthy, resilient landscapes, we will experience continuing environmental decline and degradation. For all the policy developments and practical achievements of the past 20 to 30 years in managing our environments and ecosystems, we are not closing the gap between the magnitude of the challenge and the scale of our response.
The new vision would:
- Embrace all Australian landscapes and all Australians, rural and urban alike. Landscapes are a vital part of local, regional and national identity; all our futures depend on them.
- Acknowledge climate change as a ‘game changer’, in terms of both the role of landscapes in mitigation and adaptation, and the huge, varied, but still uncertain, impacts of climate change on landscapes.
- Move beyond a ‘regreening’ conservation ethic to embrace multiple functions and values to achieve the best combination of environmental, economic and social benefits.
- Build on the synergies and convergences between these functions, as well as acknowledging potential tensions and conflicts. Many industries, resources and communities would benefit from expanded landscape revegetation and regeneration.
Eckersley, R 2013, Repairing and preparing Australia’s landscapes for global change: Why we must do much more A report on an expert roundtable, held at the University of Melbourne on 21 February 2013, to consider the question: What are the benefits of large-scale reforestation and revegetation, and how can they best be achieved? Australia21, Canberra