Introduction to Kachana Islands of Biodiversity
- Marrying community support with local best management practice...
- Motivating local land-managers to devote critical management time to specifically enhancing naturally occurring processes in areas that have no tangible value...
- Investing for our grand-children...
- Enjoying and sharing the results with family and visitors to the region
“A species will appear when the conditions of establishment are given...” taken from the Law of Biological Succession)”
We understand the attraction of the gouldian finch to the Alligator Airways Island of Biodiversity to be a vote of confidence in what Kachana Pastoral Company is attempting to achieve...
Our "Islands of Biodiversity" concept embraces whole community participation for the effective custodianship of our region’s natural icons.
The rugged Durack Ranges in the heart of Australia's Kimberley region... a "last frontier" or perhaps "one of the first areas on this planet to have experienced a change in microclimate due to human influences many thousands of years ago"?
We may never find out...
Does it really matter?
The thing that does matter to those who care and make the effort to observe is:
Current managerial abandonment and neglect are not being kind to these landscapes that capture much of the region’s rainwater.
Recent years seem to confirm a continued loss of soil: that supposedly protective layer of skin that ought to cover much of our landscapes. "Rivers of blood" indicate that the export of this vital resource is not by any means a new phenomenon on this planet. As soils erode, so does biodiversity and the genetic base that it depends on... With these go the prospects of our children's livelihoods. For those who hang around the story ends with poverty and conflict... this play has been acted out repeatedly on various stages around the world ... and it still is...
" The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself." (Roosevelt 1937)
This particular scene portrays "fire" to be the villain... Fire will of course continue to play a defining role in the shaping of these landscapes, as will of course other forces unleashed by an inherently human desire to exercise control over nature's cyclical checks and balances.
The concept of "Islands of Biodiversity" arose as a result of the September 2002 wildfire that swept through Kachana. It brought us the bitter insight that good intentions and hard work do not guarantee good results in the longer term, unless our management objectives and actions are embedded within an ecologically sound local culture... Even then, could we be certain to sustain what is aspired?
Defining "Islands of Biodiversity" has in a way been a cry for broader community assistance:
HELP WE CANNOT DO THIS WITHOUT COMMUNITY SUPPORT!
The short answer is: Buy time.
Country that is "healthier" tends to bounce back quicker after a "set-back".
A longer answer is: By defining, creating and managing specifically for more effective eco-system function we can at least slow down the current loss of biodiversity. We use the energy of animals to rebuild a natural water-cycle... In effect what we are telling all the organisms on site is this:
Listen guys, we know you get plenty of sunshine and the air is good... let's hang onto some of that loose dirt and organic matter and if we organize some water for you guys during the drier months, do you reckon we could all live and work together?
Just give us a little more time to work out what it is that you really need... And guess what: Yes, we do all this for you because we like you...
More than that: Our survival as a species and the health of our grand-children depends on you guys out there (in the middle of nowhere) doing what you were designed to do. So just hang in there and please don't leave just yet...
There is of course another practical consideration: By not incinerating the whole area every three years some habitat remains to protect a pocket of local genetics. If we have enough pockets (Gene Reservoirs) then perhaps some day when we do have more effective means to design and implement regional landscape goals, we have a broader genetic base to begin rebuilding the biodiversity of the region. Also many smaller "Gene Reservoirs" managed by groups of caring individuals has to be smarter than a few large National Parks reliant on public funding and the hope that the new ranger will learn the job quick enough...
(Hmmm... Strange how we keep being drawn back to the words "diversify" and "diversity" ... Uncommon good sense and sound business practice, I guess..." )
(This question could easily be accentuated to read: Why bother? In the larger scheme of things: what is going to happen will happen anyway... it's happened to the dinosaurs... it's happened to the marsupial lion and other Australian mega-fauna... happening to the night parrot and to the gouldian finch...)
(We all believe.. what we read, what we learned, what we "see", science, what we experience, what our role models teach us, the dictionary, the neighbourhood gossip, what we want to believe, those that we trust... The list is endless and it will be different for each single one of us...)
A longer answer is: We believe in the law of the harvest...
It seems that when the Big Boss designed this biosphere (planet earth) the fuel he chose to run it was sunshine. In terms of human life spans we have been given enough fuel to live with abundance for "forever"!
We have no idea why He gave it to us to manage...
Our track record as human custodians of this planet and its biological wealth really leaves much to be desired...
The exciting part however is that when one stands back for long enough, patterns begin to emerge and it is as if the land itself begins to speak...
- What is the meaning of a perennially flowing stream in what was a largely dry and eroding watercourse when we got here?
- What does it mean if we sight our first gouldian finch after 20 years of acquaintance with this bit of land? What does it mean if we spot four more including a juvenile within a year?
- What does it mean if the sightings of sugar-gliders become more frequent? What does it mean if springs begin to flow on what we only knew as hard dry ground (unless it rained)?
So often answers will raise more questions...
However it is "in the doing" that we hope to find satisfaction. What we have achieved we find encouraging.
|This (2005)||or this (2006)|
I guess this takes us back to "looks" versus actual "health", "species present" versus "natural processes"... And of course the question that irritates our comfort-zone: What are we going to do about it?
The Kachana Islands of Biodiversity aim to marry funding by the broader public with local best management practice for the benefit of the whole community. Scientific research is conducted as appropriate, but the emphasis remains on achieving tangible long-term results in areas that are currently deteriorating.
A donation of Aus $ 10'000 will give anybody or any group of people the right to name a new "Island of Biodiversity" on Kachana.
Of several appropriate key areas, one is chosen and named by the new sponsor. Kachana Pastoral Company undertakes to define and to rehabilitate the area. A simple but binding contract is then drawn up to formalize this new proactive land-care partnership. The Sponsor has a right to the continued use of this project for marketing purposes provided these do not compromise the integrity of Kachana Pastoral Company. The sponsor is invited to inspect the site at any time. Such inspections do however need to be coordinated with management of the area.
Kachana Pastoral Company offers full accountability on how donated funds are spent.
The choice of how "non-productive" landscapes are managed ultimately lies with the whole community... Meanwhile we require initiative and leadership to explore what is really possible in such settings...
Kachana Pastoral Company believes that "Islands of Biodiversity" ("Islands" managed specifically to enhance soil life, plant life and animal life, whilst preserving local genetics) pave the way for encouraging community commitment towards restorative care and custodianship of the icons that make our region so special.
Please spend some more time on our web site to find out why a "pastoral company" is so vocal about land-care.
Making others aware of what is actually happening beyond our immediate spheres of influence is a great way to share local knowledge:www.Kachana.com