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Conservation of the Australian biota and rural and regional communities is at a critical crossroads and our generation is at the wheel. Three to five billion dollars in land degradation is accumulating every year, more species are going extinct here than on any other continent in the world and rural Australia is struggling with deepening cultural/economic crises about long-term viability. The perspective from deep time suggests that our current limited range of strategies for solving these crises, including reliance on the effectiveness of protected areas, will ultimately fail—sometimes catastrophically. Environmental and economic necessity urges us to consider all potential strategies that could turn this around, whether or not they fly in the face of conservative or minority group prejudices. Sustainable use of native wildlife, in urban as well as rural Australia, has the potential to increase the capacity for long-term effective conservation of the biota and rural and regional Australia, as it now does in other areas of the world such as southern Africa and as it once did in Australia when Indigenous people managed this continent. It may well offend animal rights advocates and environmental conservatives to suggest that valued wildlife could be the only alternative to no wildlife, but if that is the choice then there is no choice. The time has come to stand up to irrational views if they put at risk the long-term future of the natural and cultural things we value. Long-term conservation of the biota and rural and regional Australia requires that we trial new and potentially more effective ways of putting people and environments back together for the mutual benefit of both. This document overviews imperatives for change, potential if challenging initiatives that could assist traditional efforts and suggestions about how they might be translated into action.

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Contents

Figures & Tables

References

Allen, L., Hynes, R., Thompson, J., 1995. Is commercial harvesting compatible with effective control of pest animals and is this use sustainable? Pp. 259-266 in ‘Conservation through sustainable use of wildlife’ ed. G. C. Grigg, P. T. Hale, D. Lunney. The Centre for Conservation Biology, the University of Queensland, Brisbane.
Anon., 1994. Cats and wildlife. Pamphlet of the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage.
Anon., 1996 Australia: state of the environment: an independent report presented to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment by the State of the Environment Advisory Council / Australia. Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories. CSIRO, Canberra.
Anon., 1997a Sustainable economic use of native Australian birds and reptiles: can controlled trade improve conservation of species? Summary of a report of the same name for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation by ACIL Economics Pty Ltd in Conjunction with Agriculture Western Australia. RIRDC Research Paper Series No. 97/26.
Anon., 1997b. Exploiting our native fauna - culling, harvesting, farming? Australian Biologist 10: 23-30.
Anon., 1998a A full repairing lease: inquiry into ecologically sustainable land management. Report No. 60. Industry Commission, Canberra.
Anon., 1998b Policy for sustainable agriculture in New South Wales / NSW Government, NSW Agriculture. State Government of New South Wales, Sydney.
Anon., 1991. Ecological sustainable development working groups; final report—Agriculture. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
Anon., 2000a IUCN Policy Statement on Sustainable Use of Wild Living Resources. Adopted IUCN's 2nd session by the World Conservation Congress, Amman, Jordan.
Anon., 2000b Summary statistics from the Collaborative Australian Protected Areas Database ed M. A. Hardy. Environment Australia, Canberra.
Archer, M., 1974. Some aspects of reproductive behaviour and the male erectile organs of Dasyurus geoffroii and D. hallucatus (Dasyuridae: Marsupialia). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 17: 63-67.
Archer, M., 1995. Pin pricks & verdant vistas. Australian Natural History Autumn: 80.
Archer, M., Clayton, G. (eds), 1984 Vertebrate zoogeography and evolution in Australasia. Hesperian Press, Perth.
Archer, M., Arena, R., Bassarova, M., Black, K., Brammall, J., Cooke, B. N., Crosby, K., Godthelp, H., Gott, M., Hand, S. J., Kear, B., Krikmann, A., Mackness, B., Muirhead, J., Musser, A., Myers, T. J., Pledge, N., Wang, Y., Wroe, S. 1999. The evolutionary history and diversity of Australia's mammals. Australian Mammalogy 21: 1-45.
Archer, M., Burnley, I., Dodson, J., Harding, R, Head, L.,& Murphy, A., 1998. From Plesiosaurs to People: 100 Million years of Australian Environmental History. State of the Environment Australia. Technical Paper Series. Environment Australia, Canberra.
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Archer, M., Hand, S. J., Godthelp, H., 1994a. Patterns in the history of Australia's mammals and inferences about palaeohabitats. Pp. 80-103 in ‘History of the Australian vegetation’ ed. R. Hill. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
Archer, M., Hand, S. J., Godthelp, H., 1994b Riversleigh: the story of animals in ancient rainforests of inland Australia. 2nd Edition. Reed Books, Sydney.
Archer, M., Hand, S. J., Godthelp, H., 1995. Tertiary environmental and biotic change in Australia. Pp. 77-90 in ‘a Paleoclimate and evolution, with emphasis on human origins’ ed. E. Vrba, G. H. Denton, T. C. Partridge, L. H. Burckle. Yale University Press, New Haven.
Archer, M., Hand, S. J., Godthelp, H., 1997. Unrolling the prehistoric scrolls of prophecy—roos and rocks rule. Landcare Australia Yearbook 1997, 12-15.
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