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What we value about our environment

Natural resources support many of the things we value as a community. Broadly, these values exist in all parts of our region, though the nature of the natural resources and specific services they provide vary (for example types of production are influenced by soils, climate and water resources; biodiversity values depend on the condition, extent and spatial arrangement of habitat).

biodiversity-icon Terrestrial habitat for native plants and animals including threatened species, supporting the inherent value of biodiversity and its conservation for future generations, Aboriginal cultural values and a range of ecosystem services.
water-icon Aquatic habitats for native plants and animals – supporting biodiversity values, recreation and tourism, commercial fishing, landscape aesthetic and Aboriginal cultural values.

Water supply (groundwater and surface water) supporting agricultural and horticultural production, urban and industrial uses, and biodiversity values.
sustainable-production-icon Sustainable production from irrigated and dryland agriculture gained from healthy soils and water resources, and supporting viable rural communities.
atmosphere-icon Clean air and a climate that supports our unique plants and animals, our farming systems, our lifestyles and wellbeing.
people-icon A range of livelihoods and lifestyles, supporting vibrant healthy communities. Aboriginal cultural values.

A range of community values relating to natural resources were identified within each subregion. These were collated from a range of sources; including community input to the SA Murray-Darling Basin strategic NRM Plan, the Connection to Country web portal (mapping of valued assets), workshops specific to development of the RAP to describe social-ecological systems of the region, as well as ecological, production and cultural values noted in previous literature reviews.

Drivers of change to natural resources

The ‘systems approach’ to planning recognises the inter-connectedness of people and the environment. It also recognises that our environment is not static.

Our communities and environment are constantly subject to changes, whether subtle or abrupt, known or unexpected. We cannot prevent change, nor are we likely to be able to control all undesirable influences on a natural resource condition. Together, we can all minimise negative impacts, build the resilience of natural systems to function as desired, and build community capacity to adapt to change.

With the help of NRM partners in our region, conceptual models were developed documenting our understanding of what is driving change to resource condition and major functions as they relate to community values e.g.

  • direct pressures on resources (for example - grazing practices, pests, weeds, erosion, clearing of vegetation)
  • broader social and economic drivers of change (for example, population growth and land use change, demographic changes, market forces).

From these models we distilled NRM issues from other drivers outside the scope of NRM. As defined in the Strategic NRM Plan, the business of natural resource management is to respond, adapt, prevent or monitor those issues that affect our natural resources. NRM issues include those things that have direct impact on natural resources. In-direct influences on natural resources (for example commodity markets, or policy changes) can be major drivers of change, hence also need to be considered and addressed when designing projects. Where possible, the main causes of NRM issues have been noted.