Quote of the Moment:

“If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.”
Ancient wisdom

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Landscape Management Workshop 2005

Wrap Up Sessions: Summary

“We have the tools to begin the job of building a bright and meaningful future in currently unproductive or degraded landscapes...
“However it will only happen when the community will is there to support such activities...”

Such is a central message in:

It is also a message we deliver at all Kachana Workshops where visitors get to see and experience for themselves the rewarding results of low-tech approaches to some of modern society's greatest challenges...
Kachana Pastoral Company now prides itself in being able to tap into the experience of a third generation of “high density-low duration animal management” for the purpose of enhancing the vitality and productivity of our landscapes...
We believe there is a bright and meaningful future in reinventing the ecological function of “Pastoralism” and our 2005 Workshop did much to support this notion...

On arrival at Kachana participants listed topics they would like to see covered during the workshop:

Over the next three days these and other topics were looked at... however our workshops do not stop with the departure of participants...
Landscapes should be dynamic living systems, as landscape health changes, challenges change accordingly...
If there are finer points to a particular topic that need to be readdressed, please send a private or a group email in this regard.

Next are points listed during discussion-sessions that may serve as revision for the 2005 Workshop participants:

Kachana Pastoral Company Message:

Although much of what we see may be of industry relevance, when we look at a broader landscape we should do so as taxpayers as voters, as parents or grandparents looking into the future...

Kachana Landscape Management Principles:

The three rules for Land Managers:

  1. Stay in the game
  2. Get to know the rules
  3. Get better at the game

The name of the game: Environmental Capitalism
The object of the game: Learn to make your natural asset-base productive and then learn to live off the interest it generates; teach your successors to do likewise...

  1. When I stop working: Assets feed me
  2. True sustainability hinges on the actions of the next generation...)

Kachana Landscape Management Guidelines

“Work with nature”

Observe the patterns, identify and then work with the forces:

Get a head-start by talking to those who are getting the results you want even if you need to pay for training and information... Find a model you are comfortable with and fit the accessories that suit your particular circumstances...
(Information that saves you time and money is the closest you ever get to "buying time".)

Some Practical Landscape Management Maxims and Guidelines

“Biology runs on sunshine”

  1. Let biology do as much of the work as possible
  2. Aim for more effective eco-system-function
    • Increase the Energy Intake
    • Increase the Energy Flow
    • Increase Water Capture
    • Increase Water Cycling
    • Increase Nutrient Release
    • Increase Nutrient Cycling
    • Trade “tight control” for “effective influence”
  3. Set clear Landscape Goals in terms of eco-system-function and manage in reference to these goals... (include: “Health”; “Diversity”; “Flexibility”)
  4. Manage the Mega-Fauna:
    • What are they doing now?
    • What should they be doing?
    • What could they be doing?
  5. Disturbance is natural:
    • Be proactive in your response to disturbance you cannot control
    • Be proactive with disturbance you can “control”: us it to influence your landscape in a positive manner
    • Use Mega-Fauna as a controlled Biological Storm...


      • Location
      • Timing
      • Intensity
      • Duration
      • Direction
      • Reoccurrence

  6. Do not trade off “effectiveness” for “efficiency”
  7. Accept change and learn to compromise and to adapt...
  8. Management should not be species-specific...
    • Always bear in mind the relationship between: Soil, plants & animals
    • “How should this particular motor run?”
    • Break parasite cycles
    • Encourage biodiversity
  9. Monitor: (use soil-building and water-quality as a key indicators)
    • Biomass
    • Growing season
    • Biodiversity
    • Reliability of stream-flow and other water sources
  10. Ask the four questions to find: Question Number Five
    1. How much energy is entering the equation and what is the “flow-pattern”?
    2. How much of the last rain did I capture and what is the “flow-pattern”?
    3. What is the flow pattern of available minerals?
    4. Who is cycling the carbon? How?
Final discussion:

After a field-walk to the fragile little rain-forest that was spared by the recent wild-fire everybody in the group agreed that some natural assets are worth managing even if there is no quantifiable financial gain involved.

Discussion quickly homed in on the obvious: How do we protect this and other areas of undisputable heritage value from the next fire?

We used this example to demonstrate how existing legislation paved the way to conflict and how easy it would be to end up with much time, money and effort spent on getting no out-come in the field where it was most needed.

Remaining time was then spent on demonstrating how we could make use of the Holistic Management process to formulate a landscape goal that would benefit not only parties that were currently in conflict, but that would also further the interests of down-stream communities.

Dr Judi Earl initiated the exercise by briefly outlining Holistic Management Goal-Setting

Whilst listing the Decision-makers (people who had the power to veto decisions made on the ground) we ran into an endless list of bureaucracies each with particular technical expertise or responsibilities related to some administrative field or other...
In fact we simply had many "more chiefs than Indians" as the saying goes...

To locals and to visitors alike it became quite apparent that decisions affecting the future of the land we had been flying and walking over for the last three days were primarily made by people who had little or no direct vested interest in the health and productivity of the region let alone the managerial experience to proscribe and implement the management actions required on the ground. It was however equally clear that the expertise and the information that these bureaucracies had access to were important for enabling better decisions to be made...

In only a few minutes of orderly discussion facilitated by Dr Judi Earl, the Holistic Management process had alerted us as a group to the nature of social constraints that impact natural resource management in the region. Differing and opposing views were aired to illuminate different aspects of the challenges at hand... as a group we recognized that the region was not yet ready to effectively address these immediate challenges...

Time was up and much was left unsaid or still hanging in the air...

The conclusion of this workshop surpassed all expectations:

Within three weeks members of the group had canvassed, discussed, formulated and submitted an application for federal funds to establish and run the first four of several "Kan-do Educational Tools" throughout Australia. Two in Western Australia, one in the Northern Territory and one in New South Whales...

Though it was not specifically formulated, it was recognized that as landscape managers we would need to produce the sort of positive results that would be obvious to the general public before we would be in a position to address the flaws in the system of governance.

The idea of the "Kan-do Educational Tool" is evolving accordingly; please visit the project web-page for more information on this...

After-Workshop Feedback

Participants were also asked a few formal questions... mainly to help organizers produce an even better experience for next time... We thank participants for their valuable and encouraging feedback...

Highlights that were listed included:

Recommendations included:

Chris' comment: A number of participants picked up on this...
If I drove the message home a little too hard, please forgive me; but I had a “captive audience” and wished for first-hand appreciation of how readily micro-climate is influenced by human actions:
The human ignorance and negligence that leads to thousands of square kilometers of Northern Australia being burned out each year is grossly underestimated by members of our community, as are the consequences...
I wanted people gain a little appreciation of what it may really be like for a small plant or animal to be without protection from the sun for up to three months at a time... We found it most uncomfortable after only a few minutes of standing in the sun in a charred landscape devoid of groundcover and tree canopies...Even despite the water we carried along...

Which five people will you tell about this workshop?

The theme for the 2006 Kachana Landscape Management Workshop will be:
“Healthy Landscapes, healthy people”

Which two people would you like to see here next year to listen to Patty Martin who launched “Safe Food and Fertilizer”?

The responses included:

Patricia Anne Martin
Safe Food and Fertilizer
617 H St. SW
Quincy, WA 98848

Safe Food and Fertilizer is a project of Earth Island. Please let us know if you have trouble accessing the web-site.