The wildlife, landscapes and ecosystems of eastern Australia are experiencing catastrophic impacts from a wide range of threats including habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation; climate change and biodiversity loss; feral animals and weeds and development. The Great Eastern Ranges is one of the only conservation initiatives large enough to respond to these significant challenges at the scale needed to make a real impact.
The landscapes of eastern Australia have changed dramatically over the last two hundred years. In the past, habitats and ecosystems were intact and well connected. Today, roads, dams, fences, agricultural and industrial lands, towns, and cities have led to significant loss of native vegetation, serving to carve up the land into small ‘islands’ of habitat. This blocks the movement of animals, reduces the amount of habitat available to them, and interrupts the flow of the vital services provided by a healthy environment, such as carbon storage, clean water, pollination and the formation of healthy soils.
The multiple and escalating threats that impact the wildlife, habitats and ecosystems of eastern Australia have also resulted in the rapid decline of biodiversity, putting us on the path to an extinction crisis. This loss of biodiversity is having a dramatic ripple effect, resulting in less healthy, less resilient landscapes to the detriment of people and nature. At the same time, the impacts of climate change are already compounding threats and introducing significant new challenges that need to be managed, such as more frequent and intense fires, and reduced rainfall.
Research has shown that the conventional approach of prioritising the conservation of isolated pockets of habitat is insufficient to ensure the long-term survival and adaptability of species and the resilience and integrity of our ecosystems.
The solution – the Great Eastern Ranges
The Great Eastern Ranges (GER) – a large-scale connectivity conservation initiative – was created as a direct response to the urgent need to curb the loss of native species and reverse habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation across eastern Australia. By bringing people together to protect, connect and regenerate landscapes and ecosystems at scale while managing key threats, GER delivers holistic natural solutions that address the enviromental and climate challenges we face.
GER provides the big picture vision, science and coordination needed to support our regional partnerships to achieve shared conservation goals across public and private land and ensure that efforts combine to achieve impact at the whole-of-landscape, population and ecosystem level.
Together these many actions serve to mitigate the impacts of climate change, support biodiversity, build community and landscape resilience, and protect the health and functioning of the natural services on which we all depend.