John Turnbull, Past President, National Parks Association of NSW
Anne Dickson, Sustainability facilitator and consultant and sessional lecturer in sustainability
As I sat on the rocky ledge just south of Jibbon Head in the Royal National Park, I couldn’t find the words. In front of me – a pod of dolphins, migrating humpback whales, and just to my right, an Australian fur seal feeding in the shallows. Behind me – an echidna, black cockatoos, finches and early spring wildflowers. And the value of all this? Nothing short of priceless.
In today’s society, we seem to need to put a price tag on everything. Of course, some things can be valued in monetary terms – anything which has a market, which is bought and sold. Even then, the price paid may not be a true reflection of the value or cost – hence the need for carbon pricing, for example.
Dr Oisín Sweeney, Senior Ecologist, National Parks Association of NSW
A case study on the Victorian Central Highlands
Back in June, scientists and economists from the Australian National University produced a ground-breaking piece of work. They published a set of experimental ‘ecosystem accounts’ for the Central Highlands region of Victoria. NPA Senior Ecologist, Dr Oisín Sweeney, explains the relevance of this approach.
Graeme L. Worboys, Adjunct Fellow, Fenner School of Society and Environment, Australian National University
Large numbers of the Wild Horse, a farm-animal escapee, are severely impacting the water catchment wetlands of the Australian Alps, including right across Kosciuszko National Park. In 2014, 35% of the Alps wetlands had been damaged. These high mountain wetlands are the very heart of the headwater catchment sources for our mightiest rivers, the Murray, Murrumbidgee and the Snowy and regrettably they are also a preferred grazing area for these heavy stock animals. Numbers of Wild Horses have grown from about 2,000 to more than 6,000 in just 11 years and they are causing great damage to the catchments. The NSW Government, in response to these threats has launched, in May 2016, a draft Wild Horse Management Plan for consultation … a plan, amongst other things, to protect the water catchments.