Steps to a sustainable Northern Australia


  • Stuart Blanch

  • Stuart Blanch is the Northern Landscapes Manager with World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF)-Australia (PO Box 1268, Darwin, NT 0800, Australia. Tel. +61 (0) 8 8941 7554; Email: Stuart is working with the WWF-Australia colleagues and partners to develop and implement WWF's North of Capricorn Initiative to conserve the globally significant tropical savannas and rivers of Northern Australia.


Summary  Northern Australia's globally significant savannas and rivers face major threats, from cattle to weeds to land clearing to climate change. In the face of imperatives and pressures such as reducing carbon emissions, nature conservation, alleviating Indigenous disadvantage, the resources boom and global food security, how should development be managed to protect its globally significant ecosystems? Nine planks in a ‘Sustainable Northern Australia’ agenda are proposed: (i) enhance investment in mitigating pervasive landscape threats; (ii) strengthen support for Indigenous Caring for Country activities and incorporation of Traditional Ecological Knowledge into land management; (iii) align and strengthen invasive species control and management; (iv) facilitate new economic development pathways focused on sustainability; (v) build climate resilience by maintaining and enhancing landscape-scale connectivity; (vi) protect free-flowing rivers from dams and major water resource development; (vii) establish and effectively manage a large interconnected network of protected areas; (viii) develop cooperative governance arrangements; and (ix) enhance knowledge generation and research and monitoring capacity.