Climate Change Adaptation

The use of South Australia agricultural land for existing production is drifting inexorably into the eye of a storm where landscape-scale collapse is a high probability. The Draft Climate Change Adaptation Framework document alludes to this by stating “many natural systems … are already degraded”. Indeed it is reasonable to contend that most of the natural capital of the state's agricultural lands is degraded.

No consideration of adapting to changing climate can occur without connecting the long term sustainability of existing practices with the loss that has occurred in the natural environment. 

My examination of available information during the past 20 years or so of agriculture in the state reveals a truth – that there will come a time when inputs (e.g. fertilisers, nutrients, lime applications on acidic soils, applications of chemicals to combat pests and diseases) reach a threshold at which the soil's capability to respond is reached, and thus outputs will decline. 

Agricultural downturns have happened in the past, and they will occur again, but at some time in the future there might not be a sustained recovery. This will determine whether any adaptation strategy is required. It is a truth that is not being openly confronted today. A cynic would say that there is too much profit in cropping and primary production today to get in the way of future sustainability. Such thinking is deeply flawed.

Some of the concerns I am referring to are dryland salinity, sodic soils, boron toxicity, soil acidity, low fertility, loss of biodiversity, pests, and weeds. Therefore, what is to be done if, as written in the Draft Framework document, predicted consequences of a changing climate are combined with these problems? They must be connected, for it is natural capital that we are talking about. Adaptation to an existing paradigm of land use is likely to fail in the long term.

In the past 12 years or so I have examined the fundamental issue of connecting land degradation with climate change and have concluded that there is only one way to proceed for South Australia, and that means there has to be massive restitution of formerly cleared agricultural land. Although the Draft Framework document touches on some aspects of revegetation and biodiversity support, it does not cover these to the extent that is needed. 

There has to be recovery of abandoned agricultural land, and in the Mid North region and around the state there is plenty of that. It is a sad indictment on the human capacity that a blind eye continues to be turned to failed past ventures, including forgetting what nature once provided. It is no more evident than in the Natural Resources Management Plans that exist today.

My submission explores why we need a new approach throughout the state, and how it can be achieved. The Draft Framework of itself is not sufficiently extensive to achieve adaptation goals – what is needed are sustainability goals.

CLICK HERE for my submission.

 Terms Of Service & Conditions Of Use          Privacy Policy          Site Map          Contact

Copyright © D N Menz    2009 - 2017