New trans-Tasman conservation alliance formed to tackle global environmental and social challenges

In an effort to address global environmental and social challenges and promote connectivity conservation, three of the world’s leading conservation initiatives have formed a new trans-Tasman alliance.

The Conservation Across Large Landscapes Australia New Zealand (CALLANZ) network – comprising the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative and Gondwana Link in Australia and New Zealand’s Reconnecting Northland – was formed in response to the need to rapidly ramp up efforts to halt and reverse the degradation of the environment for people and planet.

“Connectivity conservation – which protects, connects and restores landscapes at scale– provides a comprehensive, integrated natural solution to many of our greatest environmental, social and economic challenges. Issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, disease spread and declining community health,” said Gary Howling, Executive Director of the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative.

“The CALLANZ network harnesses the power of collaboration and knowledge sharing to further enhance the impact we can all have on the ground. There are many commonalities between the three initiatives, and it’s often by working across borders and sharing ideas that we can identify new, innovative solutions to the complex problems we are facing.”

In acknowledgment of the official start of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration on 5 June, CALLANZ has launched a new webinar series to aid the practice and science of connectivity conservation through the sharing of knowledge, tools and lessons learned.

“We welcome the launch of this vital decade which could not come at a more critical time. The COVID-19 pandemic and 2019-2020 bushfire crisis have highlighted the urgent need for us to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of our environment. What we do over the next ten years is pivotal,” says Gary.

“We recognise that people and nature are one and that connection is the basis for positive environmental and social transformation. We cannot meet our global challenges in isolation. Therefore, collaboration during these difficult times has become more important than ever. Working in harmony together is what will make a real difference,” says Eamon Nathan, CEO of Reconnecting Northland.

The CALLANZ trio (from left to right): Gary Howling (Executive Director Great Eastern Ranges Initiative), Eamon Nathan (Pou Manatū Reconnecting Northland) and Keith Bradby (CEO Gondwana Link).

Keith Bradby, CEO of Gondwana Link says that our communities response to recent events has shown us that change can happen.

“We’ve seen that a lot of people can turn on a dime in response to events when they’re motivated. The pandemic has also resulted in greater recognition of the importance of a healthy environment and of the role of large landscape conservation in ensuring that. We will be harnessing that newfound awareness and enthusiasm to help build back better,” says Keith Bradby, CEO of Gondwana Link.

These and other topics will be up for discussion at the first Art of Connecting webinar on 3 June 2021 – We are Nature: Enhancing connections between human and environmental health. The next two webinars in the series, which will focus on natural solutions and wildlife movement, will take place on 6 September and 20 October 2021 respectively.

“We want to help build the skills and capacity of landholders, communities and organisations across the Tasman. Everyone has something to contribute, and it is only by all working together that we can successfully overcome our local and global challenges,” says Gary.

The Nowanup Ranger team plant seedlings at Yarrabee in Western Australia – one of the properties contributing to the Gondwana Link vision – in the shadow of the Stirling Range.

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