Landscape and Biodiversity


Nearly 11 million hectares (it could be up to 11.8 million ha) of land have been cleared for agriculture in South Australia since European settlement. The consequences have been enormous - species extinction, habitat destruction, ecosystems broken apart, decline of carbon storage potential, and the intersecting problems of dryland salinity, soil acidity, nutrient decline, water erosion, wind erosion, compaction, structure decline, water repellancy ... and perhaps the greatest threat of all, declining rainfall. 

In a sense, the landscape has been ravaged during the course of a few decades of human occupation. This great disruption has enforced extremely abrupt change on ecosystems, biodiversity, landform and landscape, watercourses and rivers, and regional climate patterns. The natural world functions in time frames of millenia, of thousands and tens of thousands, and millions of years, but what has occurred since European settlement in South Australia has happened in such a short time period of just a few decades that it is most likely that the full repercussions of this disruption have not yet been experienced. Witness the long-term decline in rainfall.

An overview of the dire outcomes lies in the relatively recent government document Prospering in a Changing Climate - A Climate Change Adaptation Framework for South Australia which began as a draft (December 2010), and was finalised in August 2012.

This is a "must read" for all South Australians.

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