"There has never been a more urgent need to revive damaged ecosystems than now"
The United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is a global "rallying cry to heal our planet"
The decade, which runs from 2021 through to 2030 is not only the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals, but also the timeline that scientists have identified as the last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change.
The general scope of the decade program is to promote the urgency to ramp-up ecosystem restoration worldwide, both in political momentum and on-ground work such as Landcare.
What is Ecosystem Restoration?
"Today, we are using 1.6 Earths to give us what we need to live, eat and grow our economies. We are plundering and polluting nature's resources, treating it as a dumping ground for plastic and waste" - UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
Ecosystem restoration refers to the recovery of previously degraded or destroyed ecosystems - getting them to a place that is healthy, productive and rich in biodiversity.
Restoration can happen by supporting ecosystems to increase their biodiversity, planting species that are appropriate for the landscape, supporting native wildlife, and removing pressures which lead to species endangerment, degraded soils, reductions in biodiversity, and the release of carbon from natural stores (and into the atmosphere).
"It is not always possible - or desirable - to return an ecosystem back to its original state." - UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
In order to ensure the health of our communities in modern landscapes we need to consider the impact of future climates and other changes (where the previous ecosystem in its original state may not thrive).
We also rely on farmlands and infrastructure that weren't part of the 'original' ecosystem. We need to rethink our agricultural landscapes, because today, much of the world's productive farmland has become degraded.
Farmlands need to integrate harmoniously with neighbouring ecosystems and be kept in a state where they can continue to produce healthy food and fibre for our communities - in a way that does not destroy the soil and environments, but instead, enhances them.
How does Landcare and the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration connect?
The purpose of the community Landcare movement in Tasmania is to empower. the. community. It is a grassroots, bottom-up approach, and here at Landcare Tasmania our aim is to empower locals to take care of their patch.
We believe that when locals take ownership of the problem, and are actively involved in the solutions, more gets done, and it gets done right. Who knows the landscape better than those that live there, right?
The work that gets done in community Landcare includes eradicating invasive weeds, revegetating bushland, managing farms to improve sustainability, controlling erosion, cleaning up beaches, caring for wildlife, and so much more. Community Landcare supports the health of our ecosystems and, piece by piece, supports the global scale Sustainable Development Goals.
Where to now?
The world is rapidly changing. And our climate and environments are changing faster. If we want to tackle the environmental challenges before us, we need to be flexible, able to adapt, and we need to work together.
We want to support community Landcare to rise to these tough challenges that we face in our uncertain future. We want to connect the community to leaders, experts, and innovators across the whole spectrum of Landcare, and strengthen the community network so that no Landcarer is alone as we face the decade ahead of us.
Image: Baldock's Road Landcare Planting. Photo by © Sasha Lev
Tasmanian Community Landcare Conference
Restoration: Reconnecting People, Place and Nature
This year our Tasmanian Community Landcare conference aims to do just that. We are bringing together speakers, workshops, field trips and the community to bring Landcarers together and prepare ourselves to ramp up into the decade on ecosystem restoration. We want to reconnect to what is important.
And it is not going to stop at the conference. The conference is a launching platform where we can generate the energy we need to go forth and put that extra sweat into our projects, that extra passion into what we're doing, knowing that there is a whole army behind us working towards a better future.