In countries rich with natural resources, like Australia, industries such as agriculture, tourism, forestry and mining are an important part of the economy. However, unsustainable industry practices have had huge impacts on the world’s biodiversity. These include widespread deforestation; destabilisation of water catchments and aquifers; degradation and erosion of the landscape; and the pollution of land, water and air. For example, runoff from fertilisers, mine spoil and tailings and other industrial chemicals has had major impacts on water catchments and the ecosystems and species that depend on them. Unsustainable practices can also have severe impacts on the health and wellbeing of local communities.
Ensuring sustainable practices in the GER
The Great Eastern Ranges are rich in natural resources, which support a diversity of native species and ecosystems, as well as a diversity of human communities and industries. It is essential to create a balance between supporting the economic needs of these communities, and protecting the environmental values that ultimately underpin them.
In practice, this means protecting some key areas of high environmental value completely from agriculture and extractive industries, such as forestry and mining, and ensuring that sustainable and innovative management strategies are employed in other areas to minimise impacts on the environment.