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					Comments on Australia’s Native Vegetation Framework

Goals: Overall, the goals are well defined and represent the important actions that need to be taken to protect and
restore the extent, condition and connectivity of Australia’s native vegetation.

Concerns:

   1. I would have liked to see more emphasis on increasing the connectivity and spatial coherence of native
      vegetation. Fragmentation increases degradation pressures from stock, weeds and fire. We need to restore
      large blocks of native vegetation in agricultural landscapes.

   2. The acid test of this framework is ability to stop the ongoing loss and degradation of Australia’s native
      vegetation. It is very good to have a framework but unless it is effectively implemented it is just a worthless
      reference. Major improvements need to be delivered by the framework in the next 5 years, otherwise our
      landscapes will be in precarious state. This requires prioritised actions and investment in large-scale
      restoration programs at a regional and state-scale.

   3. State’s need to have consistent policies to protect and restore native vegetation. At present there are still major
      differences and discrepancies across state borders in legislation and its implementation.

   4. Native vegetation has an important role in regulating Australia’s climate. The framework recognises this role
      but its significance is underestimated. See McAlpine et al. (2007, 2009), Deo et al. (2009).

   5. Caring for Country is far too fragmented and piecemeal to deliver the required native vegetation outcomes for
      Australia. Needs a major review and overall (Morrison 2010 in press)



References cited.

Deo, RC, Syktus, JS, McAlpine, CA, Lawrence, PJ, McGowan, HA, and Phinn, SR (2009) Impact of historical land
cover change on daily indices of climate extremes including droughts in eastern Australia (2009). Journal of
Geophysical Research Letters 36, L08705. doi:10.1029/2009GL037666.

McAlpine C.A., Syktus J.I., Ryan, J.G., Deo R.C., McKeon, G.M., McGowan H.A. and Phinn S.R. (2009) A
continent under stress: interactions, feedbacks and risks associated with impact of modified land cover on Australia’s
climate. Global Change Biology 15, 2206–2223.

McAlpine, CA, Syktus, J, Deo, RC, McGowan, HA, Lawrence, PJ, Watterson, IG and Phinn, SR (2007) Modeling
the impact of historical land cover change on Australia’s regional climate. Journal of Geophysical Research Letters
34, L22711.

Morrison, TH, McAlpine, CA, Schimdt, P, Peterson, A and Rhodes, J (In press, accepted March 2010). Back to the
Future: Planning for environmental outcomes and the new Caring for our Country program? Australian Geographer



Associate Professor Clive McAlpine
School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management,
The University of Queensland,
Brisbane 4072

				
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