THE ALLIGATOR AIRWAYS ISLAND OF BIODIVERSITY
The chosen home of the Gouldian Finch since April 2005
This "Island of Biodiversity" was made possible by a generous donation by Craig and Gail Muir of Alligator Airways in 2004.
It was this donation that motivated Kachana Pastoral Company to devote critical management time to specifically enhancing naturally occurring processes in an area that had absolutely no proven commercial value or any previous management history.
Photos taken February 2006; gradual recovery seven months after a severe wild-fire
Where we stand in early 2005:
"A species will appear when the conditions of establishment are given..." taken from the Law of Biological Succession)
We understand the attraction of the gouldian finch to the Alligator Airways Island of Biodiversity to be a vote of confidence in what Kachana Pastoral Company is attempting to achieve. By providing for a reliable supply of water and source of seeds, the opportunity for habitat and shelter, the protection from excessive predation and negative human influences, we seem to have created conditions for this locally endangered species to establish itself…
This new and encouraging return of the natives to an area that they had abandoned must not distract us from the challenge ahead...
"A species will disappear when the conditions for reproduction become unfavourable... ." (Also taken from the Law of Biological Succession)
We see immediate to longer-term challenges...
- More effective protection from intrusive human influences
- Adequate buffer-zones
- A wider range of nutrients
- Maintaining a diversity of age within the existing vegetation
- Increasing the volume of existing vegetation
- Learning more about this particular species and other returning species that we may come across
How we aim to meet these:
- Annually we assess the fire-danger and then put in place contingency measures; we control feral stock (including of course the numbers of human visitors to the area " ).
- With the use of fire and stock we create low fuel buffers around the "island".
- (4., 5 & 6) Using "high density, low duration" and "time controlled" grazing techniques we consciously manipulate the processes that determine the health and productivity of the landscape in line with our landscape goal... (This is really not much different to how we should treat our own body when recovering from a major trauma: limit the flow of visitors; a controlled balance of exercise, therapy and rest; appropriate energy intake through fluids and diet; set progress targets; observation; regular monitoring to see if we are getting there and to pick up on any irregularities; communication; informing ourselves about where we are at. As healing progresses therapy may change from rehabilitation to bodybuilding in order to perform new tasks.)
Medium- to Long-Term Challenges:
- Ensuring that conditions for reproduction of desirable species are improved and maintained as dictated by the Law of Biological Succession. (See above.)
- Ensure the feasibility of maintaining an appropriate management presence in the area despite commercial disadvantages.
- Ensure the presence of other areas that can accommodate population spillage as numbers increase. (Artificially propping up population numbers like in a zoo is not ecologically sustainable; In the absence of symbiotic relationships that we may be unaware of, a rapid increase in source of nutrients could cause a local mini-population explosion that could lead to disease and death within the species...This needs to be avoided...)
Managing for a return of biodiversity is a profoundly complex task that hinges on understanding and attempting to accommodate many simple principles and processes...We do this by:
- Networking and swapping practical and scientific information with other groups who work towards similar goals. We pick out skills and "process thinking" that seems to work best. Then we make use of a time-proven method when acquiring a new skill: Practice (Like when learning to ride a bicycle: when you fall off you get back on and practice some more until the results look more and more like what you have in mind...)
- We encourage local businesses to opt for regenerative development by regularly budgeting for restorative work that needs to be conducted in our region's broader landscape settings... We encourage visitors to the region to make voluntary daily "eco-contributions" to individuals or groups who are out there in the field working hard to create a brighter, future for our grandchildren. - Hey! You guests to this area, You who make a living in this region: Remember if we are going to ride on nature's back, the least we can do is try and look after her... Investing in our natural resource base is nothing other than basic sound economics.
- We include our Kachana Islands of Biodiversity in a bigger picture land management context. As we achieve higher levels of effective management within each "island", so we also plan for other surrounding areas to achieve higher levels of succession. We also hope that the results demonstrated by the initiative of Craig and Gail Muir of Alligator Airways will encourage more in proactive land-care..
Kachana Pastoral Company believes that "Islands of Biodiversity" pave the way for encouraging community commitment towards restorative care and custodianship of the icons that make our region so special.