Chapter 4 Connectivity conservation
Connectivity conservation involves ‘conserving or re-establishing
interconnected areas and corridors of vegetation to protect linked ecosystems
and the species within them’. The 2011 State of the
Environment report stated that connectivity conservation areas, also known as
corridors and biolinks:
… interconnect protected areas, help maintain large-scale
natural Australian landscapes and ecosystem processes, and are a natural and
critical partner in biodiversity conservation to the National Reserve System.
These areas are a critical conservation response to climate change. They provide
opportunities for species to move, interact, adapt and evolve as higher
temperatures and changed rainfall patterns cause ecosystem shifts at a
The National Reserve System (NRS) is Australia’s network of parks,
reserves and protected areas—including Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) and
private land conservation areas—covering approximately 13.4 per cent of
The National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) covers
approximately one third of Australia’s oceans—3.1 million square
kilometres of ocean—and is managed primarily for biodiversity conservation.
The National Wildlife Corridors Plan (NWCP) is ‘the Australian
Government’s framework to retain, restore and manage ecological connections in
the Australian landscape’—a landscape scale approach to biodiversity
The following list includes the major connectivity conservation areas in
n Great Eastern Ranges (GER)
Initiative corridor (2800 kilometres from central Victoria to Far North
n Gondwana Link (1000
kilometres in south-west Western Australia)
n Trans-Australia Eco-link
Corridor (3500 kilometres in South Australia and the Northern Territory)
Midlandscapes (up to 64 000 hectares in Tasmania)
n Habitat 141º (18
million hectares, stretching 700 kilometres from north to south along the 141º
meridian, across the borders of South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria)
n NatureLinks, a set of
connectivity conservation projects led by the South Australian Government (five
separate corridors, two of which form part of the Trans-Australia Eco-link
Corridor, in South Australia)
n Northern Australia Tropical
Savannah Lands Corridor and Kimberley Landscape Conservation Areas (3000
kilometres in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland)
n Biolinks (various
parts of Victoria).
As noted above, the NRS is described as a ‘natural and critical partner’
to connectivity conservation areas in biodiversity conservation. This chapter
will therefore outline the purpose of the NRS before assessing the benefits and
challenges of connectivity conservation.
The National Reserve System
As noted above, the NRS covers approximately 13.4 per cent of Australia.
One of the stated national targets in the NRS Strategy is to, by 2030:
Include critical areas to ensure the viability, resilience
and integrity of ecosystem function in response to a changing climate, such as
large and small refuges, critical habitats, broad landscape‑scale
corridors, places of species and ecosystem richness, sites of endemism and
sites that support threatened species and/or ecological communities, and places
important for the stages in the life cycle of migratory or nomadic species, to
act as core lands of a broader whole of landscape approach to biodiversity
The 2011 State of the Environment report observed that assessing the
adequacy of the NRS is difficult because there is no nationally agreed approach
to its assessment, and that its objectives are not entirely clear.
Further, that the long-term achievement of the comprehensiveness, adequacy and
representativeness criteria is difficult, possibly due to a mismatch between
targets and allocation of resources to achieve them; and that considerable
expansion is still required in order to achieve adequate protection of
threatened species within the system. The 2011 State of the Environment report
concluded that effective off-reserve conservation is important.
The Committee is aware of a view that all types of protected areas
should be integrated into a single national system, with better integration
between off-reserve conservation and protected areas.
Dr Robert Lambeck, former Chief Executive Officer of Greening Australia (WA)
described the importance of complementing the NRS with the private land-use
surrounding it, and the interplay between them as being critical.
Mr Hamish Jolly, Advisor and former Chief Executive Officer of Greening
Australia also discussed the need to break down the on-reserve, off-reserve
The International Union for Conservation of Nature, World Commission on
Protected Areas (IUCN WCPA) advised the Committee of the need to identify
refugia outside the NRS and establish them as protected areas, also ensuring
that protected areas are interconnected and actively managed across all
tenures. The National Parks
Association of Queensland advised that the acquisition of these identified
refugial areas should be incorporated into natural resource management (NRM)
and biodiversity conservation strategies as a priority.
The Australian Network of Environmental Defender’s Offices (ANEDO) stated
that, in addition to recognising threats:
… the design of the reserve system under a changing climate
needs to focus on building resilience to climate change by increasing
connectivity (through protection of key migration corridors) and identifying
and protecting ecological processes and climate refugia.
ANEDO noted that ‘[i]dentification of refugia and key migration
corridors across bioregions should therefore be a key priority for the
identification of proposed protected areas under the NRS’.
ANEDO also noted that protected area management plans should include strategies
that build resilience and manage for further uncertainty, including ‘mandatory
requirements to incorporate assessments of climate change impacts and to focus
on climate change adaptation’. It was also suggested
that adaptive management be incorporated as a management principle under the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The Committee was advised about the operation of the South Australian
Government’s program for the co-management of parks and reserves with Indigenous
Australians. The program provides opportunities for genuine involvement and
power-sharing, and builds and improves on the existing formal reserve system. The
Committee understands that the South Australian Government was looking at
further co-management of parks, including with the Ngarrindjeri community in
the Coorong area, and that other jurisdictions in Australia and overseas had
expressed interest in these innovative co-management arrangements.
Benefits of connectivity conservation
The Committee heard that connectivity conservation is an internationally
endorsed approach to addressing habitat fragmentation and providing species the
best chance at adaptation in the face of a changing climate.
Connectivity corridors such as the GER Initiative have been described as vital
for mitigating the effects of climate change on biodiversity.
The Committee discussed the benefits of connectivity conservation with
representatives of the Gondwana Link and the GER Initiative. In Perth, the
Committee met with a representative of Gondwana Link, as well as
representatives from two of their partner organisations, Greening Australia and
the Cape to Cape Catchments Group. Near the small town of Michelago, in New South
Wales, the Committee met with representatives of the GER Initiative and its
regional partner organisation, Kosciuszko to Coast.
The Committee met with the National Wildlife Corridors Plan Advisory
Group at a public hearing in Canberra. Many interested stakeholders also
provided evidence to the Committee on the benefits of connectivity
Refugia in a changing climate
One of the benefits of connectivity corridors is the provision of vital
refugia to species in the face of unexpected changes in climate. As noted in
the context of the NRS discussion earlier, such refugia are a priority in
biodiversity conservation. The Committee is aware of the work between the South
Australian Government, regional NRM boards, non-government organisations and community
groups in developing the NatureLinks project. In its submission, the South
Australian Government stated that the project will build the resilience of
social and ecological systems to enable them to adapt to climate change.
The ACT Government stated that it was engaged in activities aimed at
enhancing existing reserve management that would facilitate recovery and
restoration of habitat, better control feral animals and weeds, improve fire
management practices and enhance riparian areas to better retain water and be
more resilient to flash flooding, so as to provide refuges and corridors for
biodiversity in a drying climate.
According to the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA NSW), the GER
corridor provides a key opportunity for species to shift their ranges and
habitat use to respond positively to climate change.
According to the Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA), ensuring
connectivity among marine populations and regions will be critical to
facilitating range shifts of species, in turn helping to mitigate the impact of
climate change and maintain the resilience of marine communities.
Another benefit of connectivity conservation is the ability to
incorporate the existing natural elements of the landscape, including the
travelling stock route and reserve networks around the country. These networks
could form part of connectivity conservation areas as they naturally act as
corridors and stepping stones connecting fragmented vegetation across the
landscape. It was suggested by the
Namoi Catchment Management Authority (CMA) that travelling stock routes should
be incorporated into the protected area network.
The Namoi CMA also stated that ‘[w]ell managed conservation areas on
private land, especially when linked with public lands, could prove to be vital
refugia for biodiversity given the threat of climate change’.
Mr Greg Leaman, Executive Director of Policy at the then South Australian
Department of Environment and Natural Resources, advised the Committee that many
people are interested in participating in landscape scale conservation and the
key is to engage those landowners and land managers.
Because of their cross-tenure, socially inclusive nature, connectivity
conservation projects like the GER Initiative engage broad sections of
communities. Such projects often involve governments, landowners, researchers,
regional NRM organisations and community groups.
The Committee was told that the NWCP cannot work without the engagement
of private landowners, and that connectivity corridors are about finding ways
to improve conservation management in between formally reserved areas, as a
complement to the NRS. Dr Judy Henderson, a
member of the NWCP Advisory Group, stated that it is important to expand the
community’s understanding of connectivity conservation through education and
information generation programs within the communities.
Mr Jolly of Greening Australia agreed that investment in landowner
education and support is important at the community level, in order to achieve
biodiversity at a landscape scale. Mr Jolly suggested the
need to focus on capacity building in relation to the Federal Government’s Biodiversity
Fund program, and that the Federal Government should use existing organisations
such as Greening Australia, Landcare and regional NRM organisations to facilitate
The Committee heard from the South Australian Government that the
NatureLinks projects seek to integrate conservation with regional development
and NRM, and provide a framework for sustainable use. It was stated that the
key is to provide the framework and direction, then encourage and allow local
implementation. The South Australian Government prepared implementation plans
for NatureLinks in order to guide the participant partners as to how to achieve
the corridors. The corridors’ establishment became a target in the state’s
strategic plan, which has further evolved in subsequent plans. The NatureLinks
principles have also been incorporated into the state’s NRM plan, all eight regional
NRM plans, the South Australian planning strategy including the 30-year plan
for Greater Adelaide, and regional planning documents. The purpose of
incorporation into so many different places, it was said, is to ensure the
embedding of NatureLinks in the institutional framework so that it has a longer
term and longer lasting effect.
Mr Rob Dunn, Chief Executive Officer of the GER Initiative, indicated
that each of the councils in partnership with the Initiative were identifying
opportunities to align their programs with it, and also looking at it in
respect of their planning instruments.
The Committee heard about the success of the Great Barrier Reef Marine
Park Authority’s Reef Guardian program, as a means to informing and involving
the community in issues of biodiversity conservation. The Australian Coral Reef
Society (ACRS) proposed that these successful arrangements should be initiated
and receive long-term funding in other parts of Australia.
BirdLife Australia, in its submission, described the importance of
investing in and promoting the fact that biodiversity conservation can
positively contribute to carbon reduction, and assist in building ecosystem and
species resilience, with initiatives such as the Biodiversity Fund and the NWCP
being good first steps. Further, that this can
be done by using the best available scientific information to identify pathways
for climate adaptation for threatened species, and providing adequate funding
for land managers to pursue climate adaptation projects.
Greening Australia stated that improving connectivity is highly
complementary to improvements in sustainable agricultural practices.
The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) stated that:
While the National Wildlife Corridors Plan might be a useful
tool, NFF notes that there remain opportunities to marry existing conservation
land with private land management efforts to deliver wins for biodiversity and
agriculture. NFF remains supportive of market-based instruments such as
Environmental Stewardship Program and the newly announced Biodiversity Fund.
The Committee heard from Mr Dunn that the GER Initiative was working
with the Atlas of Living Australia to develop citizen science tools to help
landowners do self-monitoring, indicating that additional investment was needed
in order to continue this work. The Committee heard that
the challenge is how quickly they can respond to community enthusiasm—the
potential and outline for the project are in place but the resources for
expansion are not available in order to work effectively at a landscape scale, and
are thereby slowing the progress of the initiative.
The Committee heard about the Perth Biodiversity Project from the
Manager of the Project, Ms Renata Zelinova, being initially created as a set of
guidelines for local governments, endorsed by the state government, on how to
prioritise natural areas for conservation at the local level thereby helping
local governments to consider biodiversity early in the land use planning
stage. Ms Zelinova described
the benefits of the Project as providing:
… tools and increasing capacity through training and
providing … easy access to all spatial environmental information that is
available in states through one easy online access rather than going to each
individual agency to get that information. They can access it through this new
platform that we have developed. Again, for many local governments that have
limited GIS capacity that is a significant asset, saving their time and
ensuring that the issues are considered. The critical point is that it is early
in the land use planning stage, not when we are talking about a subdivision at
a property level when it is very often too late and very difficult to have some
real outcomes on the ground.
Challenges for connectivity conservation
The Committee is aware of several areas where caution is urged and where
barriers to participation in connectivity conservation projects exist. Included
in these are considerations of costs, land use, and appropriate planning, research
and monitoring. While the Committee is aware that barriers exist to
establishing connectivity in the marine environment, there is limited knowledge
of dispersal in most species, which makes predicting the effects of climate
change on marine connectivity difficult. This section therefore
focusses mainly on land-based connectivity challenges.
Costs of managing private land for conservation purposes
The Committee heard that landowners have a choice as to whether to
manage their land as a protected area, and that the costs incurred are
legitimate costs to be borne by the landowner. The Committee heard that a significant
barrier to participation in private land conservation is funding for people to
undertake conservation activities on their land.
It was acknowledged that there is assistance available for private landowners,
and also scope for partnership projects between government and landowners.
The NWCP Advisory Group emphasised that private landowners join corridor
initiatives voluntarily, and that the corridor forms part of the existing
landscape arrangements. It was stated that the control of invasive pests and
weeds needs to be an essential component of any corridor design, and that
ongoing funding is needed for the ecosystem services provided by landowners and
Mr Kevin Evans, Chief Executive Officer of the NPA NSW, proposed that
travelling stock routes should be recognised as a national heritage treasure
and gain additional funding from the Federal Government in order to protect
them as part of the national approach to climate change and biodiversity
protection. Mr Evans explained
that more federal funding would assist the farmers surrounding the routes;
farmers are finding themselves unable to afford to pay the increased rates to
fund the routes’ management. This funding would
assist governments who are faced with the challenge of how to maintain the
routes and, according to Mr Evans, would ‘do an amazing amount of good for
protecting our biodiversity.’
According to ANEDO, in the face of ongoing climate change, private land
conservation schemes will need to increase, and governments will need to
address the barriers to participation, including the lack of appropriate
incentives and benefits, and the long-term nature of some of the agreements.
ANEDO also called for greater coordination of the different private land
conservation schemes, even between state and federal governments, in order to
ensure that conservation investment is more strategically targeted, and to
increase the likelihood of effective overall protection and management.
ANEDO suggested that more flexible short-term private land conservation schemes
could be a way of introducing landholders interested in conservation, but
reluctant to commit to a long-term scheme, into conservation programs, perhaps
encouraging participation in longer-term schemes in future.
It was suggested that a source of funding, such as a national endowment
fund, is needed for ongoing stewardship. Ms Penelope Figgis, Vice
Chair for Oceania of the IUCN WCPA, gave the example of a petrol levy in Costa
Rica which provides a biodiversity support fund, which in turn provides
stewardship payments to private landowners to hold forests on their land.
Land use considerations
The Committee heard from the Namoi CMA that:
Many investments in biodiversity conservation on private
land, outside the formal reserve system, are undermined by surrounding land use
decisions. Incentive and market-based mechanisms—often promoted as the
solution—can be ineffective if not supported by an effective legislative
regime. Existing private land conservation programs need greater support and
resourcing and effective monitoring and evaluation needs to be prioritised.
Conservation covenants are voluntary agreements between a state/territory
government and a landowner to conserve the natural environment on the property.
They are available all around the country and exist in perpetuity, with future
owners of the land being bound to the conservation covenant.
Each jurisdiction handles conservation covenants differently. The
Committee heard about the South Australian Government’s Protected Areas on
Private Land project that promotes cooperation and partnerships between the
state government and private landowners and Indigenous groups. The private
protected areas were being established without a statutory framework in place,
with the state government looking to expand and update heritage agreements in
order to allow private landowners to enter into agreements focussed on
conservation and biodiversity. Mr Dunn of the GER
Initiative stated the objective of conservation covenants as being to better
facilitate and encourage private landowners to manage their land for
conservation purposes, by making it easier for them to enter into transparent,
formal statutory arrangements that would exist in perpetuity.
Planning, management, research and monitoring
The Committee understands from the Commonwealth Scientific and
Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) that there are governance barriers
that could impact upon the effective management of populations and survival of
species in future. Dr Craig James of the CSIRO stated that:
Currently a lot of our regulations are about not moving
species across state borders for the point of introducing a species into a new
place that will disadvantage agriculture, or moving endangered and highly
threatened species across state boundaries because of the fauna acts and the
regulations around them et cetera. Those sorts of things will eventually become
barriers to effective management of the populations and the survival of the
species in the future.
… that is one example of where the regulations about how we
have it currently set up will be quite a disadvantage to the idea that things
will move on their own if they can, or might need to be assisted to move if we
think it is such a high priority that we want to do that.
The Committee heard from some inquiry participants that it should not be
assumed ‘that most species can or will move along corridors in response to
climate change’. Mr Tim Low, an
environmental consultant and science writer, in his submission, further argued that
a focus on connectivity should not detract from the importance of isolated
habitats serving as refugia, and that ‘many species will benefit more from
protection of these refugia than from increases in connectivity’.
It was further argued by the National Parks Association of Queensland and Mr
Low, in their submissions, that there is little evidence to suggest widespread
species migration in response to past climate changes so they cannot be
expected to do so in future.
According to the IUCN WCPA:
… enhanced connectivity may also favour some native species perhaps
to the detriment of other high conservation value species as well as favouring
exotic invasive species, thus requiring more effort to control weeds and pests.
The scale and pattern of connectivity must be tailored to the needs of priority
species, considered on a bioregional basis.
The Committee heard from some inquiry participants about the possibility
that corridors will facilitate the movement of invasive species, especially
those that benefit from an ‘edge effect’. Edge effects are the structural
changes that occur at the points where contrasting land types or habitats meet.
In a submission that the Invasive Species Council made on the draft National
Wildlife Corridors Plan, it stated that:
For corridors to function as productive habitat for native
species, it will be important to ensure their width considerably exceeds the
distance over which edge effects are experienced. This distance will vary
depending on the type of vegetation and pressures.
Where corridors serve as buffers to protected areas and other
intact habitat – and this is one of the three corridor elements mentioned in
the plan – they are likely to reduce the edge effects for those core areas,
achieving a positive outcome.
Corridors should also be wide enough to prevent domination by
problematic edge-favouring animals, whether exotic or native.
The Invasive Species Council also further stated that the difficulties
and costs of fire and invasive species management ‘will be considerably greater
in corridors due to their high edge to core ratios’.
It was concerned that funding for invasive species management in corridors would
be contingent on grants that are not renewed, stating that ‘the plan should
place more emphasis on invasive species as management problems associated with
corridor development’. The Hon. Bob Debus,
Chair of the NWCP Advisory Group, told the Committee that ‘the control of
invasive plants and animals ought to be an essential component of the design of
The Committee heard that ‘corridors can be ideal habitat for some
invasive species where they benefit from an edge effect’.
Mr Dunn of the GER Initiative also described how to limit that possibility by
creating an environment that is not ideal for many invasive species, which can
be achieved by building on national parks to create a gradual shift in
vegetation into productive areas with a ‘patchwork’ effect.
This system of protecting remnant areas, or a patchwork of refuges for
different species, can help land management and farm productivity.
The management of invasive species and fire patterns is increasingly
important in an unpredictable climate. Effective management of invasive
species, such as phytophthora dieback, will assist with the success of
connectivity attempts between ecosystems.
The Committee heard of the need to have a quantitative understanding of
the resources being managed, the need to measure and understand changes that
occur to those resources, and the need to adapt and manage to deal with those
changes. The South Australian
Government described the challenge as being to adopt a new model for the
delivery of government programs, based on a comprehensive understanding of the
resources in question.
Ms Kate Andrews, Chair of Territory Natural Resource Management
highlighted the need to manage for uncertainty and risk, and to put our best
efforts into understanding the tipping points and thresholds within our system.
Representatives of the Western Australian Centre of Excellence for Climate
Change, Woodland and Forest Health discussed the need to be innovative and use
the resources, ‘knowledge and remote sensing tools that we have to look at
areas that are protectable from fragmentation, from drought, from phytophthora
dieback’. Professor Hardy,
Director of the Centre, explained that these areas need to be maintained as
intact ecosystems, linked through corridors with other ecosystems that need
minimal input to try and keep them healthy. Professor Dell, also of
the Centre, stated that the focus should be on the ecosystems that are
declining and approaching tipping points of no return.
The Australian Marine Sciences Association stated that, similar to
terrestrial environments, in an ocean environment it cannot always be assumed
that migration to new habitats is possible. The Committee heard from
the ACRS that the boundaries of the MPAs may need to change as the climate changes,
in order to provide stepping stones to enhance connectivity and migration.
ACRS also stated that little is known about inter-reefal areas, which are
critical in the functioning of an ecosystem, except that much of the fauna is
sedentary and cannot migrate in the face of increasing water temperatures.
ACRS explained the effects of decreasing levels of aragonite saturation (the
amount of carbonate in the seawater which enables organisms to build calcium
carbonate). Aragonite saturation has ‘dropped around the globe dramatically
since pre-industrial times and will drop further as the carbon dioxide
concentrations increase further’.
Ms Andrews highlighted the need to invest in people in the long-term, in
order that we have the human capacity to deal with issues relating to
biodiversity and threats to biodiversity, including climate change.
The IUCN WCPA stated that policy must reflect this need for investment in
capacity building for conservation management, including skills development for
people working on IPAs, connectivity corridors, protected areas and other
Monitoring the success and progress of the corridor is one of the key
challenges for the GER Initiative, and it requires large investment.
Mr Dunn of the GER Initiative explained that:
Corridors or connectivity conservation needs to increasingly
become a filter for Caring for our Country and for the Biodiversity Fund. A gap
at the moment is providing direction … at a continental scale as well as
investing at a continental scale to look at monitoring, evaluation and building
Conclusions and recommendations
The Committee considers connectivity conservation initiatives, such as
the National Wildlife Corridors Plan, as vital tools in addressing the effects that
climate change will have on Australia’s biodiversity. There is a strong
opportunity for national leadership on connectivity conservation, with the
Australian Government providing the framework and direction, then encouraging
and allowing local implementation. The Committee notes that placing additional
lands into reserves to form connectivity corridors is an important part of
Australia’s conservation effort and agrees with the general goal of
establishing a single national reserve system to facilitate better integration
of off-reserve conservation with protected areas, as outlined in the 2009 report
on the vulnerability of Australia’s biodiversity to climate change.
The Committee highlights the need to focus on proper, science-based and
adequate management of corridors to prevent fire and invasive species risk.
The Committee recommends an overall approach which would:
n be strategic in
managing for the unpredictable effects of climate change
n ensure the required
research is undertaken into tipping points and system thresholds
n improve understanding
in communities of connectivity conservation, through local education programs
n collect the
information from evaluation and monitoring of connectivity conservation
projects, including via citizen science projects
n aggregate, analyse
and evaluate the data gathered against regional and national objectives
n provide long-term funding
for ongoing environmental stewardship
n address barriers to
take up of private land conservation initiatives.
A critical aspect of the continued development of the NRS is the need to
focus on ecosystems in decline and those reaching the tipping point of no
return. Research, planning, engagement, monitoring, evaluation, and storage of
the evaluative data are key elements of an effective adaptive management
approach to connectivity conservation projects that should be outlined by the Australian
Government and promoted to the community at large.
While connectivity corridors can provide vital refugia and the ability
for animals to move and adapt to different areas in the face of climate change,
they can also allow ready transfer of feral pests and weeds to places they may
not have otherwise had the chance to reach. Connectivity corridors may also
present significant costs and planning challenges. The Committee agrees with
the Invasive Species Council that ongoing funding for invasive species
management, incorporated as part of the National Wildlife Corridors Plan, is
important, and with the need to adequately address the management issues that
threatening processes such as fire and invasive species pose.
The Committee recommends that ongoing funding for threatening
processes, including fire and invasive species management, be provided under
the National Wildlife Corridors Plan.
Private landowners participating in a corridor initiative or
conservation program on their land may or may not have access to government assistance,
and issues regarding land use in adjacent areas can have further financial
impacts for governments and private landowners.
The Committee understands the critical importance of planning
connectivity corridors in areas and situations in order to limit the
possibility of the creation of unforeseen circumstances and problems, such as
the facilitation of the spread of invasive species. Adaptive management
principles must be in place to deal with such issues if they arise, and
processes in place to protect adjacent landowners and, indeed, participating
landowners, from suffering such problems.
Ongoing environmental stewardship and environmental endowment funding for
private land conservation is important in order to provide the funds necessary
to support these important connectivity conservation projects, and also in case
of unforeseen circumstances.
As discussed above, the Committee understands that governance barriers
to protecting Australia’s biodiversity could impact upon the continued successful
expansion of connectivity corridors. The Committee agrees that a consistent
approach to connectivity conservation is required, with cooperation between
jurisdictions to ensure that the required quality of management of connectivity
conservation areas is upheld.
The Committee recommends that national marine and
terrestrial biodiversity corridors be included on the agenda of the Council
of Australian Governments.
Education and engagement of the community as a next step is vital in
order to encourage the uptake of connectivity conservation projects. The
Committee acknowledges the enthusiasm and persistence of Landcare groups,
Greening Australia, regional NRM organisations, and local NRM groups. These
groups, together with national parks staff and museums, are vital to convey to
communities the importance of biodiversity and connectivity conservation to our
way of life, and help people understand their place within the environment and
not as separate to it.
In the Committee’s view, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s
Reef Guardian program may prove a successful template on which to base wider
programs which inform and engage communities in connectivity conservation
issues. The Committee considers that the program may translate well to other
management authorities and ecosystem types, as well as to other reef
ecosystems. The Committee would welcome a report on the viability of such
programs in other terrestrial and marine environments, such as the Australian