Our Plan for the Southern Tablelands

Last updated on June 23rd, 2020

Our Plan for the Southern Tablelands

Our plan for the Southern Tablelands involves managing its renowned assets – productive agricultural landscapes, magnificent upland rainforests and diverse cultures.

The Southern Tablelands includes important habitat and a range of forest types, supporting rare, threatened and iconic wildlife species.  Our plan includes working together with all our local partners to manage these areas, as well as the vital corridors between the forest fragments.

Looking after our waterways and riparian areas, keeping the water clean and supporting a healthy reef, also forms part of our plan for the Southern Tablelands.  Our productive farmlands are another important feature of our landscape and we will continue to support our farmers to remain resilient and sustainable – both economically and environmentally.

Traditional Owners have strong and enduring cultural connections to their country throughout the Southern Tablelands.  They have a strong desire to be involved in looking after and managing these lands and protecting areas of cultural significance.  Much of our community is active and engaged, but there is still scope to increase the awareness and appreciation of the natural values of our landscape.

Together, we will continue to build a healthy landscape to sustain our people, communities and natural systems.  Find out more about our community’s plan for the Southern Tablelands.

Our three top priorities

1. Biodiversity

We will increase the condition and connectivity of our forests to build resilience against threats, including climate change.

While our Local Landscape is renowned for its amazing upland forest communities and there are large areas of protected forest, there are also many isolated fragments, which can result in wildlife being cut off and unable to reach the larger forests.

Research also tells us that many of our area’s forests and animals, like tree kangaroos and ringtail possums, will be affected by climate change and will need to move up to higher elevations in the future. We are fortunate to have information and scientific knowledge about this now, to allow it to be taken into account when planning restoration work.

Community groups in this Local Landscape fill a vital role in improving habitat connectivity and condition and we need to make sure they receive the necessary funding, skills development and recognition to enable them to continue and expand their excellent work.

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Protect and maintain existing forest patches and strengthen the connectivity between them.
• Protect key wildlife species that fulfill a role in pollinating our native forest plants and dispersing seeds.
• Broker partnerships to enable community groups to gain access to planning, research and funding to increase connectivity.
• Research ways to support and protect natural areas from the impacts of climate change.

2. Water

We will enhance the quality of our water and the condition of our waterways.

Our region’s waterways are so important – they provide vital freshwater habitat, they supply water to our towns and farms, they sustain our natural environments, they are focus points for recreation, there is a strong cultural connection by Traditional Owners to waterways and they all eventually flow into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

Our management along waterways and wetlands brings multiple benefits, making them an important focus for restoration efforts.

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Stabilise actively eroding areas to minimise sediment and nutrients entering waterways.
• Restore riparian areas through weed control (including aquatic weeds), bank stabilisation, revegetation and off creek water points.
• Establish wide, well grassed farm drainage systems and detention basins in Spring Creek/Hallorans Hill areas.
• Implement a range of water saving initiatives on rural and urban land.

3. Sustainable Industries

We will ensure our landholders are supported to maintain productive farms and healthy natural assets.

With its rich, volcanic soils, the Southern Tablelands supports highly productive and diverse agricultural enterprises.  There are many innovative farmers working hard to protect their valuable natural assets, like soil, water and vegetation.  Landholders are in the best position to manage their land well, so having access to good technical information will allow them to continue to build their skills and capacity in areas like soil and water conservation and grazing management.

Tourism is another important industry in the Southern Tablelands, with increasing opportunities for nature-based recreational activities, like hiking and mountain biking.

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Provide access to technical information and landholder incentives to support the uptake of agricultural best management practices.
• Provide learning opportunities to landholders to build up their own natural resource management skills.
• Improve nature-based recreational opportunities within local towns.

Other priorities:

We will work to ensure our Southern Tablelands community understands and appreciates the environmental, cultural, economic and recreational values of our natural areas.

Many of us are actively involved in community groups, which fill a vital role in environmental management and education in our Local Landscape.

Increasing community involvement helps to raise awareness of the environment and natural areas, so it’s important our community groups remain strong and effective.

We have a lot of evidence showing the many benefits of good environmental management, but we need to make sure this message is reaching others within the community. Using a positive approach with incentives, education and marketing can help spread the message further!

“Without interaction / education, we don’t tend to value the importance of the natural environment.”

Examples of our priority actions include:

• Deliver programs through the community and schools to build understanding about the ecological, economic, cultural and recreational values of natural areas.
• Support Traditional Owners to increase NRM involvement and improve knowledge and understanding of cultural NRM values.

For more detail on the priority actions identified by the community for our Local Landscape, click on this link.