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“If you cannot convince them, confuse them.”
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Kachana News

March 2004 News

Dear Friends,

This month’s message is a simple one:

We cannot afford Pareto’s Principle to dominate our focus on landscapes….

As individuals, as communities or as a nations, we simply cannot afford to focus on better managing the “20%” of our landscapes that provide our food, materials, jobs and living areas, while much of the other “80%” are deteriorating because of poor or (which is worse:) lack of management.

The basic requirement of most organisms (humans included) for fresh air, abundant clean water, the natural purification processes that Nature would provide and the buffering capabilities that healthy landscapes provide against natural disaster, lead us to reason that “Landscape Management” has by default become one of the greatest challenges as well as one of the greatest opportunities for our next generation.

By “Landscape Management” we understand:

Our “landscapes” include private and public tracts of land we do not use for production, state owned tracts of land, vacant land, wilderness areas (that are not managed as such, but that may be ecologically dysfunctional in parts), deserted landscapes (that in earlier times supported higher levels of biodiversity), mountain ranges that are not suited for any type of industry, areas used for tourism and recreation and the list goes on…)

Meanwhile here on Kachana, Our “dry season” is fast approaching, and with it our Next Kachana Landscape Management Workshop. (Please help us spread the word. We welcome sponsors to assist in meeting the travel-costs of guest-speakers.)

With over 1300 millimetres of rainfall since September 2003, this “wet season” may not yet be over …

Every millimetre of rainfall Kachana gets would fill a swimming pool 2 metres deep 20 metres wide and 25 kilometres long… other Stations in the region are up to five times the size of Kachana…

When it rains, we in the Kimberley of North-west Australia probably receive more clean water per capita than anywhere else in the world…

On the other hand, our annual biomass burning may well ensure the highest per capita levels of greenhouse-gas emissions on the planet…

Managing the intake of sunshine-energy and carbon (the first part happens through the green leaves of plants) as well as the capture and retention of rainwater (this ought to be performed by healthy living soils) is the primary challenge of Landscape Management. These two processes go hand-in-hand with a further challenge: rebuilding and sustaining biodiversity whilst enhancing the productivity of the land to serve the many needs and wants of us humans.

While theories and information about better land management abound and spread rapidly, we live in a region where our resources are still eroding faster than we are currently able to stabilise or replace them: each year more biomass is lost than nature can replace; species driven to extinction and the minerals we lose are perhaps irreplaceable…

Our own joy and excitement comes from the results we see in our model areas and from our special projects, however our greatest challenge remains: This is to stabilise what is left of a resource base that has probably been eroding ever since humans first upset the apple cart on the Australian continent thousands of years ago…

As with a person who is badly injured in an accident on the way to work, before we can expect “performance”, nature dictates a new set of priorities:

first aid; stabilisation; rehabilitation…

…then back to work… maybe even doing something totally different than before…

The good news is that at landscape levels:

However a journey of a thousand miles ought to begin with a destination in mind… (borrowed wisdom)

Our most recent web-pages:

Warm greetings once again from the heart of the Kimberley: Kachana!

The Kachana Team

P.S.: We are no longer reaching all the people who want to hear from us, let alone the people who ought to! J -