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Innovation and the avoidance of dogma will undoubtedly be required in the massive effort to stem the decline, and then rebuild Australia's outstanding biodiversity. There is wide consensus that our traditional protected areas alone will be inadequate and a whole range of other instruments which cover many tenures and achieve greatly increased areas for conservation will be required. However, enthusiasts for additional conservation mechanisms need to avoid undermining the existing protected area concept which, despite its faults plays a major role in conservation. This opinion paper argues that ‘off reserve’ or ‘new reserve’ efforts should be integrated into and build on existing national parks if the agreed goal of whole of landscape conservation is to be achieved.

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