The newly released Australia State of the Environment 2016 report makes for sobering reading. Our changing climate is providing big challenges as are the increased pressures on coastal development around urban centres and the extensive land use zone where grazing is a major factor in the loss of biodiversity.
However, current gaps could be addressed securing a brighter future for our environment. The main gaps highlighted in the report centre on integrated policies and adaptive management approaches, an area where regional natural resource management (NRM) organisations have considerable capacity.
“This makes the work of regional NRM organisations even more critical in securing Australia’s biodiversity future,” said Jim Sullivan, Kulin farmer and Chair of NRM WA.
“We would welcome an overarching national policy for the protection and management of Australia’s environment to 2050.”
Jim renewed calls for national leadership to make formal arrangements with the WA Government and NRM WA (regions) to ensure coordination and ensure policy is enacted.
“NRM regions are strongly delivering the *National Landcare Programme in WA, coordinating regional action, involving the best available knowledge, and building partnerships with governments, industry groups and communities. Greater involvement of the WA Government could boost our chances of success in securing our natural resources: soil; water; and vegetation into the future.”
An example of regional level coordination is the Wheatbelt NRM Dashboard.
‘Our Dashboard provides an annual and ongoing check on the state of key environmental, social and economic thresholds for the region,” said Chief Executive Officer Natarsha Woods.
“The dashboard has grown from our previous work on the Regional NRM Strategy, where we set a threshold target of 30% bushland vegetation cover to protect the viability of our native species.”
“The Eastern Wheatbelt currently has 17% cover, and the ‘NRM Dashboard’ should be able to tell us if our work is resulting in greater vegetation cover.”
‘A coordinated approach would mean a brighter future for our unique biodiversity and our primary industries, Jim said.