As the original concept and overarching movement to date most groups identify themselves as a Landcare group or at the very least as belonging to the Landcare movement. Our research indicates that over 90% of ‘care groups identify themselves as a Landcare group. Some of these are actually known as Landcare groups, others may be Coastcare groups, Bushcare groups, Junior Landcare groups and so on. So it is common for example, for a Coastcare group working on a Coastcare issue such as turtle protection to also recognise their group as a Landcare affiliate.
There are over 4000 Landcare groups across Australia. Landcare groups and Landcare projects can be urban, rural, regional or agricultural in nature. Landcare groups characteristically consist of Friends of groups, community environmental groups, land managers or land owners such as farmers or primary producers.
Current trends in Landcare include adaptation of farming practices for climate change and use of traditional ecological knowledge in land management.
A few simple things you can do at home to assist Landcare with its efforts include:
Plant natives in your garden. They provide habitat for native wildlife and require less water. By planting natives instead of exotics you will also ensure you do not contribute to Australias $4 billion a year weed problem.
Install a water tank and optimise water use efficiency at home, work or school. Water will become increasingly important as the continent becomes hotter and dryer with climate change and has been a source of great concern for Australian farmers for decades.
Purchase organic or biodynamic produce where possible. This produce has been grown without the use of synthetic fertilisers.
De-sex your cat, keep it inside at night and ensure it wears a bell. Even the most unassuming family kitty can become a fierce predator of native birds, lizards and small native mammals. Domestic cats that turn feral are a major threat to Australias biodiversity.
Urban Landcare groups have sprung up in cities nationwide to assist with regeneration of urban green spaces, improving urban water quality, establishing community gardens and much more.
Urban Landcare arose out of a growing perception that environmental stewardship must be embraced by all of Australias inhabitants. Urban Landcare is as much about community education and behaviour change as it is on ground environmental projects.
Land, air and water degradation occurs everywhere: in urban, coastal and rural areas; on public and private land. It affects every one of us.
Anyone can be involved in caring for the land. Whether its cleaning up reserves, managing weeds, planting native species or monitoring native fauna, theres plenty to do in our urban areas.
You can help just by changing some of your behaviours. Switching to biodegradable cleaning and washing products, improving water and electricity efficiencies around the home, reducing waste, reducing unnecessary consumption, establishing a veggie garden and purchasing local produce are examples of simple but important steps urban households are adopting to reduce their ecological footprint.
Degradation is ongoing, but if we all help care for our natural resources every day, we can continue to enjoy and use them, and preserve them for future generations.
With a focus on urban landscapes, the Bushcare initiative aims to conserve and restore habitat so that all Australians can continue to enjoy our unique plants and wildlife for generations to come.
Australias native vegetation is at risk from broadscale clearing for new housing, other developments and road expansion. The more that native vegetation is divided (or fragmented) the less capacity it has to provide habitat for wildlife and carry out essential processes such as nutrient and water cycling. Small patches of native vegetation can become isolated, and can be more easily invaded by weeds and feral pests. Since many species are dependent on specific environmental conditions, clearing and fragmentation of habitat is the main cause for these species being lost from local areas. If this happens in many regions, it can eventually lead to extinction.
Die back and other diseases are a large problem in many areas of Australia. Dryland salinity, caused in most part by excessive clearing of native vegetation can also destroy large tracts of remaining native vegetation.
A number of other threats also affect the quality of remaining patches of native vegetation. These include unsustainable firewood collection, chemical run-off from agriculture and urban lands, recreational use and rubbish dumping.
Bushcare aims to reverse the decline in Australias native vegetation, establish and effectively manage protected areas and prevent or control the introduction and spread of feral animals, terrestrial pests, weeds and other threats to Australias flora and fauna.
Most councils manage their own community Bushcare program, usually offering free training in bush regeneration for volunteers.
Contact your local council to see what opportunities exist in your area.