Reg praised the efforts of BA in acquiring "Gluepot". I think there are
very few birders who would disagree with this concept, indeed the speed in
which the money was raised for this endeavour speaks for itself.
However, a reserve system, particularly one funded by the feds, is not a
realistic answer. The political will isn't there to establish a really
adequate reserve system because there just aren't enough votes in it!
Whats more, much of the important habitat is gone.
My personal view is that for the landscape to be transformed into something
that is going to support a reasonable level of biodiversity there must be a
change in how the land is managed. I think this is starting to happen on a
small scale in parts of south-eastern Australia (at least). The Landcare
movement is in place and getting things done, much of which is directed
towards increasing the level of sustainable agriculture. This is not
incompatible with maintaining biodiversity.
We cannot ignore that much of our country has been dramatically altered and
in private hands and these farmers have families to support. Many
landholders are not unsympathetic and lament the degree of clearing
undertaken by their predecessors as they see the land being steadily
degraded through erosion, salinity and tree dieback. Some landholders have
recognised that increasing biodiversity on their properties has spin-offs
in regards the productivity of their properties. In areas such as Lurg, in
central Victoria, this has been the thrust behind the planting of tens of
thousands of trees which IS having an impact on the landscape.
The major problem appears to be that, while many landholders recognise and
would like to address the problems, most farmers do not feel powerless to
do anything about it. Relatively few landholders feel strongly enough to
actually stink hard earned dollars into, what many feel to be, the luxury
of "sacrificing" good land and planting trees. When money is provided, as
has happened at Lurg and the Capertee Valley, it has been rewarding to see
landholders come forward with proposals to carry out such work.
This, I think, is the start of the real answer to combating the problems of
land degradation. Encourage more farmers to reverse the land clearing
undertaken 50 to 150 years ago and we should, in time, see the benefits.
While we're waiting, we can try to stop them stuffing up the northern half
of Australia as well.