Thursday, November 29, 2012

Regreening Australia

Australia21 will host a roundtable in February 2013 on the benefits and feasibility of a large national program to ‘regreen Australia’ through massive reforestation and revegetation.

The project will re-examine the issues raised in a 1989 CSIRO report - Regreening Australia: The environmental, economic and social benefits of reforestation  by Australia21 director Richard Eckersley - in the light of advances in knowledge about both the problems and the solutions. Key among these is the growing understanding of the impacts of climate change on Australian environments and the importance of land use and land cover in addressing climate change.

Initial feedback on the proposal from a range of scientific and policy experts has been positive. There was general agreement that, while there has been a substantial increase in funding for relevant environmental activities since 1989, these efforts still lack the necessary scale, integration and prioritisation to address the environmental challenges Australia faces. Participants in the roundtable will examine the following central question: ‘What are the benefits of large-scale reforestation and revegetation, and how can they best be achieved?’ 

Subsidiary questions include:
-   What is already being done, and is it enough?
-   What have we learned from past reforestation/revegetation programs?
-   What remains to be learned?
-   What are the best processes and mechanisms for assessing risks and achieving benefits?
-   Who are the key partners/stakeholders and what are their roles?
-   Are priorities at local, regional and national scales agreed and compatible?
-   What are the next steps?

A two-page summary of the 1989 report which provides background is available here.

Enough funding to kick start the project has been provided by Richard Eckersley, through a bequest from the estate of the late Jan Lee Martin, and the Natural Resources Conservation League of Victoria. Australia21 is seeking more funding to ensure the best possible outcome. If you would like to comment on this project or you would like to know more please contact us at Donations to support Regreening Australia can be made on line

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