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Abstract

This paper reviews historical, philosophical and socio-cultural information as a means of explaining why saltbush in Australia has declined. That decline coincided with introduced hard hoofed animals overgrazing native pastures and was compounded by land clearing. Over time, losing ecosystem diversity degraded vegetation, soil and water resources; subsequently, watertables rose. A benefit of saltbush ecosystems has been keeping landscape function stable by controlling saline watertables. In suitable ecosystems, the reintroduction of saltbush would be potentially highly rewarding, but significant impediments block the way, none more so than a decision-making context overwhelmingly constrained by short-term production and financial considerations. The authors investigate those impediments and consider economic, environmental and social imperatives in devising a suggested long-term plan for reintroduction.

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