Resilience and understanding change – CMA’s draft CAP

A draft Catchment Action Plan has been released for public comment until December 9 and the NSW government are calling for comment on the implementation of the proposed Local Land Services.

Last one first and because they won’t be considering smaller areas, I’ll be suggesting that the current boundaries of the SRCMA are modified, so that the area increases in size. The idea being to make the area more consistent with environmental (such that the area has 2 rather than 3 bioregions) and political (Federal, State and local government areas) by incorporating lands east and south of Canberra in the upper Murrumbidgee catchment.

The Murrumbidgee catchment is a bit unique having at least  three koala ‘colonies’, all descended from translocated island koalas and located around Numerella, the few in Canberra and 300 kl to the west at Narrandera.

Back to the CAP which indicates,

” . . Over the last five years there has been a significant shift in NRM thinking. Rather than thinking about restoring landscapes to a prior condition (e.g. pre-European settlement), there is a growing recognition that landscapes are made up of human communities
and biophysical processes that interact and shape each other and are constantly changing.”

In a recent SMH article and consistent with my experience, Dr Tim Flannery suggested this approach, as opposed to protecting individual species, has been going on for the last decade and National Parks have failed to protect biodiversity due to ineffective management. It seems the reason natural resource management thinking shifted to the ‘constantly changing’ thing is because of this failure. After all if the NPWS can’t manage native forests, how can the CMA say their approval of logging on private land is sustainable? Particularly when the CAP suggests all soils can support logging.

The CAP’s theme ‘building resilience’ is based on two papers, ‘Resilience Practice: building capacity to absorb disturbance and maintain function’ (Walker and Salt, 2012)  and ‘A framework for understanding change’ (Chapin et al, 2009)

Adapted from these works, a series of “state and transition’ models have been produced that range from desired state, transitional state and undesirable state. It depends on one’s perspective but the undesirable state seems to be where the environment is and among the proposals is ‘Designed/constructed stepping stones or patches, Reconstructed habitat and Species maintenance through human intervention (eg. Translocation).

Just hope that the necessary species are on the list and koalas aren’t.


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