The First Kachana Landscape Management Workshop 2002
A rough triple bottom line analysis of this particular workshop could look like this:
Ecologically: No tangible out-comes yet, but at least some seeds have been successfully sown. This was visible in the "take home messages" and individual "action plans" that participants shared during the wrap-up session.
Socially: Those who most needed to be here were not. There was no representation of CALM, DOLA, Water and Rivers, SWEK, KLC, PGA or of any of the bodies currently in the process of spending tax-payer funds on existing rangeland projects. There was no interest at all shown at political leadership levels. There was how-ever some local grass-roots support and this is the key for any action plan to be translated to reality. The small, but diverse group had representation from the forestry, farming, pastoral, commercial, human health, education and government sectors. Four of the 23 participants were under the age of 18, whilst three of the others had already earned grandparent status. Queensland (1), NSW (2), Victoria (1), Zimbabwe (1), South Africa (1), France (3), Holland (2), Switzerland (3) were - I believe - capably represented.
This diversity made for debate to be healthy, provocative and constructive. All who participated contributed and all were in a position to learn.
Financially: From a Kachana Pastoral Company perspective we broke even financially thanks to the fact that guest-speakers donated their time and other donations were made in cash or in kind.
The bottom line could be summed up in one message that kept on repeating itself throughout the event:
“Nothing is obvious to the uninformed.”
In the short-term, therefore whilst many in the jury choose to remain uninformed we shall see no significant change in political will or in legislation and/or incentives empowering land managers to achieve more desirable outcomes at a landscape level. However the growing interest (both locally and over-seas) in our results lead us to believe that in the medium term the functional role that large animals could play in our landscapes will be better understood.
On behalf of Kachana Pastoral Company, I wish to thank all who supported our first Annual Landscape Management Workshop on Kachana. This leaves us encouraged to plan the staging of the next one in a year from now.
We sincerely hope that this event will serve as a catalyst to initiate at least three things:
- Biological and soil-foodweb monitoring in a number of rangeland situations to satisfy the need for solid scientific data to confirm the trends noticed in our upper water-catchment areas
- Monitoring the salinity increase in lake Argyle to better determine the urgency of instating effective upper catchment management
- The design and initiation of projects to explore the use of animals as a tool to enhance environmental health in our landscapes
Furthermore we request:
- The official support of Environmental Literacy Workshops by our departments and funding bodies
- Real tax-incentives for innovation leading to desirable "on the ground" results. (This should include the opportunity for third party businesses or private individuals to achieve a financial net gain whilst financially supporting the advancement of positive management outcomes in the landscapes that sustain us all.)
Notes taken from the final wrap-up session at Kachana (Noted by Brian Marshall)
FR: Experienced a new energy. Small scale perhaps, but indicative of what is needed at larger scale in this landscape.
KB: 3 points:
- Commitment can bring positive change.
- We can become more environmentally literate.
- Effective ways of education have been demonstrated.
JP: A good thing for the world .....a need to convince others. “I am convinced”.
BM: Land has become a better place. Productive steps to apply in children's education.
BM: A celebration of 10 years, a validation of the process of Holistic Management. Chris' communication IS effective, as well as his "aviation and navigation". He is eloquent, colourful and uses his endless analogies to great effect!
AC: Fascination with changes happening. A unique application of ideas in the Kimberley. Respect of hard work undertaken. In a landscape of 420'000 sq km there are few people and limited Govt resources. A need to be fair minded and let landholders make their decisions. Disappointment that more pastoralists didn't come. A commitment to write up proceedings in Pastoral Memo - and the importance of communication of concepts/ideas. Interest in monitoring Spinifex Hill ongoing.
Restated concern for “introduced species” escaping to be a Problem. (Para & Pangola)
PM: Good to view sites as well as see photos from past years. A sense of urgency at damage still occurring. Appreciated Andrew attending as AgWest rep. Paul offered to coordinate research funding to ensure Spinifex Hill project is monitored.
BL: Loves coming to Kachana. Developing an understanding of what resource is capable of. A need to take it to a higher level, knowing what is required to achieve.
ToB: Good learning experience.
DL: Reinforces the decision making process and purpose. Stop and reassess principles for human relationship with rangelands.
AW: Chance to observe what I had just heard of before. Aboriginal links will be important. Educate adults before kids - so more adults can assist the process. Ask the right questions to provoke learning, rather than just tell them.
Help one Aboriginal family to learn more. (Andrew's offer to help embedded here!)
MM: Learnt a lot. Results of efforts happening everywhere.
BS-V: A passion to support this work on Cleanskin - and involve the livestock ongoing. A need to monitor for the common good.
PW: A chance to show tourists something very special.
BH: Can't remember everything that has happened, but hope there will be more workshops.
JH: Opportunity to see what is really happening. Having the help of Ben & Denise much appreciated. 10 years hasn't been easy. Hopes for more occasions like this in future.
DW: Observing real change now. In town there is no perception of the magnitude “out there” or where to begin (if change is ever even desired). They think Chris must be mad. Convince yourself and then extend the knowledge.
CH: Get 6 key people talking .......it may change the or improve the outlook for the Dunham catchment.
Self funding research needed for animal maintained landscapes. This is scale neutral. Don't be daunted by the task, but be excited by the challenge.