Issue: Species, habitats and ecological communities - Community action on species and ecological communities
This is an issue under the Biodiversity theme of the Data Reporting System.
As more than two-thirds of Australia (some 500 million hectares) are managed by private landholders, and only 77 million hectares are within terrestrial protected areas, conservation of biodiversity cannot be achieved in a reserve system alone.
Adequate, efficient and cost-effective incentives to conserve biological diversity will encourage private and community action designed to improve or benefit migratory species, threatened species, remnant vegetation, wetlands, corridors between protected areas, etc. Community participation in conservation also means that there will be a greater likelihood of lasting and more effective management. Specific actions might include conservation of wildlife and habitats, rehabilitation of degraded habitats, and revegetation to lower saline water tables, improve water quality and absorb greenhouse gases.
Widespread community involvement in biodiversity conservation has developed following the growing realisation of the large-scale ecological problems confronting the country. Community groups and individuals put an enormous amount of voluntary effort into planning, organising and carrying out conservation activities, either individually or as part of organisations such as Landcare groups. There is growing recognition by governments that people who manage or use natural resources need to be informed, involved and active, if a sustainable system is to be achieved. The local community is general responsive to problems in its own region. Local people often have the best knowledge of their land and environment. Successful action usually depends on communities and governments working closely together.
Community action is potentially useful to environmental management but this depends on the extent to which: decisions to act are based on sound information and science; efforts are coordinated to maximise outcomes; and effectiveness of actions are monitored and evaluated.
An important aspect of community involvement is the involvement of Indigenous communities. With over 15% of the continent under Indigenous ownership and/or management, often in remote environments that represent a management challenge, achieving protection of biodiversity without strong participation by local communities would be difficult. Traditional and ongoing Indigenous knowledge is increasingly accepted as a valid and necessary information input to biodiversity management, alongside scientific information.
- BD-06 Measures taken to conserve species or ecological communities on land that is not part of the national reserve system
An inventory of measures taken and their effectiveness in engaging useful community involvement is a direct indicator for this issue.
- BD-07 Examples of Indigenous knowledge of species and ecological communities and their utilisation for management by Indigenous and non-Indigenous managers and for other purposes by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people
Examples of the involvement of Australia's Indigenous peoples in understanding and managing biodiversity and any benefits for biodiversity that have resulted from this involvement is an indicator for this aspect of community involvement in biodiversity conservation.
- BD-02 Conservation status of nationally significant species and ecological communities, compared with previous years
The community as well as governments are able to participate in conservation of species and ecological communities. By tracking the overall status of species and ecological communities over time this provides an indication of how successful the range of measures have been.
- IW-36 Willow removal
Willow management provides an example of strong but localised community action intended to remove unwanted species from the environment. Community action is potentially useful to environmental management but this depends on the extent to which: decisions to act are based on sound information and science; efforts are coordinated to maximise outcomes; and effectiveness of actions are monitored and evaluated. In this case the critical issue is whether revegetation is undertaken at the same time as willow removal. If banks are left denuded of vegetation by willow removal, this is a matter of considerably greater environmental concern than the presence of willows.
- Biodiversity - Landscapes - Government action on landscape protection
- Biodiversity - Species, habitats and ecological communities - Conservation status of species and ecological communities
- Biodiversity - Species, habitats and ecological communities - Community action on species and ecological communities
Links to another web site
Links to data in the DRS
Opens a pop-up window