Being Stewards of Country

There is no denying that climate change is here. In many of the articles I have written for the Royal Society of Victoria, climate change seems to be a common thread woven among them. In Australia, this means warmer temperatures, less rainfall, and more extreme weather events. How do we ensure our land is ready for the change that is already happening and continues to intensify? Years of attending RSV presentations only reinforce in my mind our desperate need for better land management.

Where does your food come from? Will it always be there?

Supply disruptions affect food prices, most affecting people on low incomes and those already food insecure. Fewer than 5% of Australian adults eat the recommended number of vegetable servings daily. If everyone did, we would not have enough. Led by Dr Rachel Carey, the Foodprint Melbourne project seeks to increase equitable access to fresh, healthy foods and promote sustainable production for current and future generations of Australians.

Weaving Indigenous Knowledge into Agriculture

There are around 6,500 different types of Australian native foods, but there are many barriers to First Nations people commercialising them. Currently, Aboriginal people only receive 1-2% of revenue from the commercial bush food space. The good news is that 40% of the land mass has been returned to Traditional Custodians, and now with a formalised commercialisation and export strategy for native foods, the opportunities for Indigenous producers are endless.

Yield to the Dingo

Wooleen Station pastoralist David Pollock demonstrates the grazing systems used in the arid rangelands regions of Australia are not sustainable. Periodic rest periods for important pasture species have not been adopted due to high competition for grazing from rabbits, wild goats and kangaroos. David argues the best solution to this unmanaged grazing is the dingo, an important apex predator in the ecosystem unhelpfully mischaracterized as a “wild dog” to justify widespread culling programs.

New Stewardship of Country

The latest issue of the Proceedings of the RSV features papers from the 2021 ‘Stewardship of Country’ Symposium, which delivered presentations across multiple domains of land management practice and scholarly expertise, representing an historic collaboration between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts, industry practitioners and thinkers. The series posed the question: who are we becoming, as Australians faced with an increasingly unpredictable and challenging future?