We sadly have an escalating ecological crisis in our country where ecosystems are coming under increasing stress from human induced climatic changes and land uses undermining basic ecological processes and biodiversity. We do not need to linger here as the evidence is all around us - from what we experience with our own senses (and associated sense of dread) through to the constant debates about climate change and our rapidly declining biodiversity. In the past year this sense that we are in trouble has been heightened through the devastating bushfires in our country. The estimates of 3 billion animals dying during these fires is heartbreaking.
In this context it is unfortunate that governments of all persuasions are contributing to the problem. At the state level various goverments have repealed laws preventing wholesale land clearance and stripped environmental agencies of their funding, in particular the national parks services. The federal government - well enough said. An examination of the new regulations they are attempting to push through (September 2020) are a nightmare that will accelerate ecological decline. And a recent report worryingly points out that scientific research and advice concerning the impacts of land clearing, logging, mining and climate change are being suppressed by governments and industry.
If there is still room for doubt on this matter, then one look no further than federal and state government responses to the covid virus pandemic. There has been an appropriate and swift response to this threat that has amounted to well over 100 billon dollars. Meanwhile, the far more serious threat of climate change and collapsing biodiversity has seen neither serious co-ordinated responses nor serious amounts of money to address these mounting problems.
On the evidence to date, we cannot rely on goverments to address these matters in any meaningful or appropriate way. Indeed, we would argue that successive governments and many corporations have ignored, supressed or misrepresented our ecological predicament, and indeed, seem to be hell bent on destroying the joint.
Wildlife Conservation on Private Land
In light of the above, there are various news organisations, environmental groups and community groups attempting to hold politicians and corporations to account. This is necessary and important work. Our best wishes go with these people.
Nonetheless, there are other ways to address our predicament. One approach, which is the focus of our work, is hands on wildlife conservation, which can be done in a community setting (e.g. Landcare, wildlife rehabilitation groups) and/or done on private land. Both of these approaches are very important.
Our focus here is with the latter. In fact, wildlife conservation on private land is vital for the preservation of wildlife. In our home state of NSW, it is estimated that over 70% of biodiversity is on private land (Biodiversity Conservation Trust NSW). In other words, a lot can be done to preserve and enhance ecological function and biodiversity through wildlife conservation work on private lands.
Across Australia, the Wildlife Land Trust has over 70 000 hectares as dedicated private wildlife sanctuaries. And the amount of land is growing. You and I may be small in the big scheme of things, but together we can make a positive difference for wildlife conservation in Australia.
Wildlife Conservation on Private Land Organisations
Wildlife Land Trust Australia
"Protecting and preserving our habitats and ecosystems is essential to the survival of all wildlife, and every acre left unexploited safeguards native animals that desperately need our help to survive. The role of private lands has now become an integral part of the solution, and private landholders with a concern for wildlife and habitat protection are in the unique and important position to make a very real contribution to conservation efforts across the country. Working under the guiding principle of humane stewardship, the Wildlife Land Trust network of national and international sanctuaries on private lands is dedicated to wildlife and habitat protection."
Land For Wildlife
"LFW encourages and assists landholders to include nature conservation along with other land management objectives. The program is free for landholders to join and is not legally binding. Registration in the scheme will not change the legal status of a property."
Look for Land for Wildlife in your state.