An early satellite photograph of Australia’s south-western corner provided a key part of the inspiration for Gondwana Link. That photo showed the vast extent of natural vegetation lost since European settlement. It also highlighted the opportunity we have to protect the remaining areas and to reconnect an important evolutionary pathway - from the tall south-western forests to the semi-arid woodlands on the edge of the inland deserts.
Maintaining the extraordinary nature of south-western Australia requires us to think big, so a bold plan was conceived to drive change: work at a scale that’s visible from space to protect what remains, restore the critical gaps, and work to see it all managed to a high ecological standard.
Gondwana Link’s vision
"Reconnected country, from the karri forests of the far south west to the woodland and mallee bordering the Nullarbor, in which ecosystem function and biodiversity are restored and maintained".
We are restoring ecological resilience and, in the cleared areas that means restoring land, much of which is too fragile to farm. We will have, stretching over 1000kms, a series of core natural areas, linked by continuous belts of habitat and surrounded by supportive land uses.
Achieving the vision
A wide range of organisations and individuals are using a wide range of strategies to achieve our vision. Everything from reconnecting bush through land purchase and restoration through supporting ranger teams as they manage vast areas of woodlands.
Why Gondwana Link?
- Ecological resilience: Our ecological systems are changing drastically. Lots of existing species will be lost, a tough fact we all have trouble getting used to. But if we can retain the inherent qualities of key systems - their ability to adapt and make the most of changed circumstances – then at least those systems have a good chance of surviving and adapting, along with many of the species they hold. It’s from those systems that the natural world will renew itself.
- Leading by example: In a world that can seem paralysed by the immensity of the ecological and energy challenges facing us, it is important for individuals, groups and communities to tackle what they can. Being fundamentally strategic, breaking immense problems into ambitiously achievable chunks, showing real progress, and then getting more strategic and ambitious, is what we can all do.
Gondwana Link is specifically designed to seize our best chance of retaining resilient ecological systems across a key spectrum of Australian habitats - addressing current ecological decline while significantly mitigating the impacts of accelerated climate change and learning how to best sequester carbon in both natural and restored habitats. It is also hoped our work in Western Australia will inspire Australians in other areas, and we think there is evidence this is happening.
- Strategically focused restoration work now underway in all the main habitat gaps along the 1,000 km long link.
- In key habitat gaps, some 16,000 hectares of rural properties purchased to date, with additional large areas secured by covenant with existing landholders, and some 6,500 ha of marginal farmland restored back to habitat so far, much to a high ecological standard.
- Much improved and wider application of feral animal control programs on private property across key parts of the Link.
- Groups assisted to develop a Conservation Action Plan for each of the eight key sections of the Link, with this planning process ongoing so that strategies are revised based on monitoring and evaluation.
- In the Great Western woodlands, extensive support provided to the Ngadju Traditional Owners and Native Title holders in the development of the Ngadju Conservation Aboriginal Corporation and establishment of a Ngadju Ranger program to assist in the management of 4.4 million hectares of Ngadju country, including establishment of a bushfire brigade, provision of equipment and ongoing mentoring. Ngadju Conservation Aboriginal Corporation now have the capacity to run the program in their own right and funding to maintain their team of 10 rangers – their country will shortly become a nationally recognised Indigenous Protected Area.
- Extensive support provided to the Noongar people - Wudjari, Koreng and Minang - with funding sources and development of programs focused on cultural education, reconnecting with country, youth at risk, and family healing, and the establishment of a Noongar Ranger program.
- Development with Curtin University of a Bush University cultural education campus on one of the properties secured for Gondwana Link - Nowanup.
- Citizen science monitoring program established which monitors the habitat value of restored areas through the analysis of birds using the restored habitat.
- Recent development of a comprehensive communication package to assist in the acceleration of on-ground works.
- A wide range of supporters from near and far visiting, communicating about and supporting Gondwana Link.
- A working alliance formed with our main peer group in eastern Australia and another in New Zealand (CALLANZ – Conservation Across Large Landscapes Australia New Zealand); and
- Our ambitious approach becoming well accepted and supported.