GRASSROOTS INPUT TO ENVIRONMENTAL DEBATES
by Chris Henggeler, January 2005
With reference to the Draft “Kimberley Natural Resource Management Plan” of December 2004 and to previous input to local environmental debates Kachana Pastoral Company would like to draw attention to two points in particular:
Our reasoning is that there is a very direct relationship between the two, and that Pastoralism would be in a position to offer the most cost-effective means to achieve many of the positive ecological outcomes aspired to in the Kimberley Natural Resource Management Plan.
1. We would welcome an inclusion of a global perspective of soil-erosion. Worldwide ‘erosion of soil’ is one of the surest indicators of loss of landscape productivity potential.
Cutting edge soil science indicates that healthy soil is more like a living protective layer on productive land surfaces; soil plays an integral role in nutrient cycling. Biological analysis of soils in the Kimberley that we have come across to date would seem to indicate that soil communities in many of our Kimberley landscapes are largely dysfunctional. The extent of soil-erosion that we have observed and monitored since 1985 would support these scientific findings.
Soil can be built in most landscapes. Our geographic location and our rainfall are conducive to soil-building. If a situation exists where annually more soil is being lost than being replaced, we know that we are also losing biodiversity and that the situation is not sustainable. Pastoralism has immediate access to tools that can assist in the stabilising or even in the rebuilding of soil.
2. We feel that an official local stance on ‘introduced mega-fauna’ ought to be included in the final Kimberley Natural Resource Management Plan. The ‘loss of mega-faunal function’ in Australian landscapes would perhaps have been the most critical consequence of the arrival of humans to this continent. Pastoralism relies on ‘introduced mega-faunal species’ and introduced plants. We believe pastoralism is uniquely positioned to explore the uses of these ‘New Australians’ in our landscapes…
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