Bounceback - building resilience across the ranges
Bounceback is a landscape scale conservation program that aims to protect and restore the semi-arid environments of the Flinders, Olary and Gawler ranges in the SA Arid Lands region.
Bounceback now operates on national park reserves, Aboriginal owned and managed lands, private sanctuaries, and pastoral lands.
The decline of the yellow-footed rock-wallaby across its range in South Australia prompted the effort to secure rock-wallaby populations in the Ikara- Flinders Ranges National Park in the early 1990s. Under Bounceback, integrated pest management would be supported by science, so that threats might be better understood and managed.
Over time, what began as a program to secure a threatened species, evolved into a landscape-scale conservation program.
With its expanded vision, investment and resources, Bounceback has extended its reach across park boundaries to other land tenures in the Flinders, Gawler and Olary ranges, in partnership with landholders, the SA Arid Lands and Northern and Yorke natural resources management boards, other conservation organizations and volunteer groups.
The repair and restoration of native habitats is complex and challenging. There is no quick fix, particularly for ecosystems shaped by boom and bust cycles, where disturbance and decline are a natural part of how things work. Over time, Bounceback aims to improve the condition of native vegetation communities, so that they become more resilient and can support native animal populations through these boom and bust cycles. Recovery can be measured using indicator species – plants and animals whose populations have been dramatically impacted by long-term disturbance.
Introduced plants and animals not only threaten native species, but their impacts may result in irreversible or difficult-to-reverse changes to ecosystem function. When native vegetation is removed from the landscape, wind and water strip away fragile topsoil and open up the country to erosion. As well as losing the structural components of animal habitats, vital nutrients are lost from the landscape. By controlling threats from pest plants and introduced predators, and by managing total grazing pressure, Bounceback aims to enhance the resilience of plant communities and the creatures they support.
Conservation beyond park boundaries are required if ecosystems, habitats and native species, are to survive the challenges of climate change. When habitats are fragmented, gene flow is restricted and the resilience of species is diminished over time.
Habitats that are connected across the broader landscape give species the best possible chance of adapting should temperatures rise, rainfall decrease, and damaging, high-energy events become more frequent. Fostering and maintaining partnerships is essential for building resilience across the Bounceback footprint.