The Nature of SA: A New Nature Conservation Approach
In South Australia we have an amazing environment: from diverse coastlines to arid ranges, mallee to stony deserts, from expansive ephemeral inland rivers and wetlands to the Murray River, remote wilderness, farmlands, and urban parks. Our wildlife is as unique and diverse as our environments. These natural environments and their wildlife are cherished and loved by many South Australians, and provide us with our sense of place, our identity, and underpin our lifestyles, and much of our livelihoods.
Our nature is changing. The places we love will change, and the wildlife will change as climate change increases. Some things will increase; others will decline, or even become extinct in SA. Existing pressures from weeds, pest animals, changed flows, historical vegetation clearance and changes to land-use also continue to influence our natural environment and wildlife. This poses a quandary for all of us. What can we do to conserve as much of SA’s biodiversity as possible? What should we keep doing? What should we stop doing? What do we need to tweak? And what new things can we do?
Conservation SA is working with a range of SA environmental NGOs, the Department of Environment, Water & Natural Resources (DEWNR) & Primary Industries & Regions SA (PIRSA) on the Nature of SA project which seeks to tackle these questions directly, working with the environment sector to engage as many South Australians as possible to identify the things we need to do.
The prompt for this is the state’s Nature Conservation Strategy, No Species Loss, expires next year and rather than producing a document that doesn’t get read, we want to change the narrative for individuals and politicians by constantly reminding them how important nature is to the people of South Australia. This is in the context where the amount of influence and resources that the environment sector has to work with has decreased.
Key themes that have emerged so far are:
- Conservation philosophies: how we talk about nature’s value influenced by the emerging philosophies of Common Cause, Love Not Loss and Nature Play.. How we navigate through discussions such as past <> future habitat; species < > function; provenance < > climate-ready; landsharing < > landsparing; spreading < > securing & valuing altered ecosystems including cities. To define conservation practice differently
- Change the Narrative: refining our biodiversity goals in increasingly modified landscapes and a changing climate. And how to bring nature to life? To change the way we talk and listen? To change the way we relate to others about nature.
- A collaborative venture: how do we work together to make decisions, develop new effective partnerships and drive implementation at a meaningful scale. We need a commitment to applying adaptive learning and sharing with others in the sector.
- Constant capacity: how we build, retain and develop leadership and capacity to deliver the strategy and shape the future. To invest in the conservation sector. To see ourselves as an asset in the system.